Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

About Time

Starting the day with coffee again. Or did I start it when I opened my eyes? When I ceased dreaming? When Mara started her day, and began to cry? Priscilla out of bed and across the room in one fluid motion, returning with Mara in her arms, and the three of us lying in the bed Mara was born in, just a year ago. Not a bed, really, but a foam mattress on the floor. But our bed, as this house is our home, these movements a morning, these days a life, our lives the pivot of creation, turning the raw stuff of the cosmos into a bed, a home.

By Sy Safransky
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Shadow Dancing

I AM RAGE. I am a storm, dark, heavy, omnipotent. I am unmitigated violence. I am fury, exploding, blinding lightning, roaring thunder, howling wind. I surge like the sea, uncontrollable in my rage.

By Leaf Diamant
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories


The people I’ll carry to the grave with me to share the final analysis will be people like Woody Allen. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know him personally; his job is to scoop up all the images of the insecure-self, the bumbling ego, the out-of-proportion self in me and others, and show us what we look like, gently, with humor.

By Betsy Campbell Blackwell
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Care Packages To Fat City

Lord knows I’ve tried! To be a little more objective when reporting the news, that is. Mother and father early on explained, somewhat nervously, that touching certain pressure points on my body more than twice a day and for longer than five seconds at a time would result in near-instantaneous deafness, weakening eyesight and the first small dust storms of a gathering insanity. It was remarkably good advice considering that neither were professional people and, knowing what I do now about the powers of suggestion and the self-fulfilling prophecy, accurate to a fine degree. Thus, when they suggested some while back that I “knock off this crap and do something serious,” I assumed they spoke of my style and were telling me, in their non-professional manner, that opinion is the kiss of death for any writer less well known and more liberal than James J. Kilpatrick or William Safire.

By William Gaither
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

open letter to the president (II)

“The Business Of America . . .

. . . is business.” This lengthy sentence, uttered in 1925 by the normally taciturn Calvin Coolidge, our last great President, represents the latest sensible message to have emanated from that bastion of bombast on Pennsylvania A venue. This is not said in derogation of those excellent successors to Silent Cal, Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower; but for all their applaudable efforts to reaffirm the Coolidge Maxim, they were only moderately successful and neither one was anywhere near as articulate as Cal.

By Frank D. Rich Jr.
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories


Twenty years ago Duncan Hines described North Carolina as a gastronomical desert. Although far from the culinary equal of New York or San Francisco, Chapel Hill has come a long way since 1957. There are now six ethnic restaurants in town, all of which have opened in the last seven years: Tijuana Fats (Mexican), Krissa (Greek), Kobe (Japanese), China Nite (Cantonese), K.C. Hung’s China Inn and Mongolian Bar-B-Q (Chinese), and Peking Garden (Chinese).

By Ralph Macklin
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Good Heavens

The sky is perfect tonight. The flawless close to a false Spring day in mid-February — an odd day with chirping birds, open windows, shirtless basketball and soft outdoor conversation before supper.

By David Searls
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Another Appetite

The human language has been quite abused lately, especially since technology allows equal time to the literate and illiterate. But my mourning weeds are donned for the fatal assault on the most beautiful and important word we have: LOVE. For centuries, poets have rhymed, playwrights have dramatized and novelists have fantasized, searching for ways to describe that most profound of emotions. And how they, too, would weep to watch its interment by the forces of politics and commerce (alias power and greed). We have witnessed the “politics of love” (and I disagree with many of my hopeful friends that good intentions and pragmatic morality can overcome the temptations and limitations of power) and we are urged daily to partake of the latest love potion offered by our advanced civilization (ranging from cosmetics to automobiles).

By Judy Bratten
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Where I Write

In my chair. What’s it like? It’s a green, upholstered, old-fashioned rocker. I tuck my feet up under me. Unlike Virginia Woolf, I do not stand up and work at a desk to do the writing I take most seriously. I get as comfortable as possible. I get a cup of coffee, and while I’m thinking, or between sentences, I go back and heat it up if it’s gotten cold.

By Judy Hogan
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Right Livelihood

Are you a Briar? Well, you might be if you try to live simply, share resources and skills with others, and practice right livelihood rather than grasp for fame and riches.

By Hal Richman
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Playing The Edge: A New Look At Yoga

What is yoga? There are as many answers to that question as there are people who do yoga. This at first might appear confusing for yoga is often presented as if there were a true and fixed path to follow leading to a desired end. Enlightenment, samadhi, bliss, peace, higher realms of consciousness — these are the coins of the spiritual market place we are told we can collect with the proper practice and dedication. To find the proper practice it is common to go back to the past, to tradition and authority. Perusing the past, however, there doesn’t appear to be any consensus for there were schools and counter-schools with recommendations running the gamut from demanding severe self-denial and austerities to others that held that only in experiencing life and sensusality to the fullest could true realization be achieved. The teachings of today are just as varied. One school says that all types of yoga are contained within perfection of asanas, while other say that too much emphasis on the body keeps you limited to the gross material plane.

By Joel Kramer

Hot Dogs

I was compiling a list of what I would take with me in the coffin when along came a dog wearing a hat.

By Karl Grossman