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The Good Patient

I placed a check mark next to the box on the insurance form that said “pre-existing condition.” I placed a check mark next to “nonsmoker.” I placed a check mark next to dog owner, homeowner, married, employed, college educated, drinks socially, and has no savings or family m…

What We Eat

In 2006 my husband, photojournalist Peter Menzel, and I produced a book detailing the food that thirty families in twenty-four different countries consumed in one week’s time. . . . We traveled the world again, this time photographing scores of different people from disparate b…

Beyond Belief

The first instruction was “Find a quiet place.” I went to Inwood Park and seated myself on a large rock, legs crossed, eyes closed. Immediately an airplane flew overhead. I stood up, walked a hundred yards deeper into the park, sat beside a tree, and again closed my eyes. This time I he…

Sunbeams (Issue #464)

We have always had reluctance to see a tract of land which is empty of men as anything but a void. The “waste howling wilderness” of Deuteronomy is typical. The Oxford Dictionary defines wilderness as wild or uncultivated land which is occupied “only” by wild animals. Places…

Mountain Lions

Emotion creates more emotion, and one need not be a Freudian to see that early loves have long, potent causal histories. We come to love before we come to hate, and their loyal metamorphoses and transformations of fear and refuge, rage and consolation, create hard boundaries for the self. I do not …

Alternatives

You sleep and wake up feeling shittier than a dozen hangovers at once. This is an improvement. You still want to die, but now she can make a difference again. She still can’t transfer her strength to you, no matter how hard she tries.