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Your Own Damn Life

Michael Meade On The Story We’re Born With

The big story isn’t history. That’s just another substitute for the life of the human soul, which is the real story. In the long run it’s the poets, not the newspapers, who have the news. The news is a superficial exchange of information that can never tell the whole story. The poets tell us we’re in this great, ongoing dance that includes opportunities to fight and love and fall down and get back up. Hopefully we have the occasional chance to do our particular dance in the middle of all that.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

I Got Off The Beaten Path (But So Did Everyone Else)

I had arrived at the peak hour of the morning commute, and a vibrating throng of mopeds clustered along the dirt road, every few seconds releasing one of its number single file onto the bridge. If rush hour in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station is Asia’s most spectacular, then here, at the threshold of this narrow bridge over the Nam Khan, was its most intimate.

Drag

Although I believe I know how to have fun (camping is fun), I have recently started to suspect that some people consider me a “drag.” I’ve begun to consider myself a drag, especially when I can’t take a measly half day off without my conscience bugging me.

Baby Lollipops

It was the year they found a dead toddler in the bushes, head bashed in, bite marks and cigarette burns all over his body. He was wearing a T-shirt with multicolored lollipops across the front. It was November 1990.

In The Air

I opened the fridge, then closed it. I called a friend and told her what had happened, then called another and repeated the account. I paced the small hallway between my kitchen and my office, then walked back and forth in the living room, but everywhere I went, the emptiness kept coming, and the air felt thin. The hot edge of desperation clung to my skin, making my breath shallow.

Fiction

No Reason

After I flunked tenth grade, I went to an alternative school for two years until I tested out. Now I’m at a high school with a college track. My guidance counselor is Mr. Peboe. I think he might have a crush on me because he is always calling me into his office.

Elson Habib, Playing White, Ponders His First Move

He considers opening with the queen’s pawn, remembering his grandfather’s advice: Open with a central pawn, Elson. It does not matter which. Cease your pawns after two or at most three moves. Bring knights into action before bishops. Bishops are sly and should be held in reserve. They are not to be fully trusted.

Readers Write

Authority

Taking violin lessons, requesting conscientious-objector status, protesting at the state capitol

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Quotations

Sunbeams

Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man.

Leon Trotsky

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