John Griswold

John Griswold is a staff writer at The Common Reader. His most recent book is a collection of essays, Pirates You Don’t Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined Life (2014, University of Georgia Press). His forthcoming book about veterans at Standing Rock will be published in 2019. He is the founding Series Editor of Crux, a literary nonfiction book series at University of Georgia Press.

Posts by John Griswold

Like Ice Sitting on a Cold Stove

Good writing, like any craft or art, convinces us of its inevitability. “It’s like all your sentences always existed, just waiting around in Style Heaven, or wherever, for you to fetch them down,” the admiring student in Wonder Boys says. Maybe the better word is intentionality: the confidence that a work (novel, painting, song, poem) […]

Foraging the Good Stuff

Rob Connoley, who owns Bulrush STL, was foraging near I-170 this morning with three of his staff. Bulrush is the newly-opened restaurant in St. Louis with “contemporary interpretations of historic (1820-1870) Ozark cuisine.” “Everything is made from scratch, every single day,” Rob said as he picked mulberries from a tree on the grounds of Pinnacle […]

Pompeii and the Deep Unease of Absence

The St. Louis Science Center has an exhibit now called “Pompeii: The Exhibition,” with 150 artifacts on loan from the Naples National Archaeology Museum. “A volcano awakens, a city vanishes,” signs say. Visitors must look first at artifacts of everyday life in Pompeii, then stand through a short CGI movie of Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 […]

A Simpsons Table Read, but Homer Not Happy

“Tim” went to a table read last week for a new episode of the Simpsons, on the Fox Studios lot in Los Angeles. The series is in its historic 30th season, and the episode would not air for a year. He got tickets because a visiting friend knew someone who took a class with the […]

The Male Dreams of His Repose

Maybe you remember the Sean Connery ad. Not the one for Jim Beam or Suntory whiskey, or Smirnoff vodka, or Japanese yogurt, or Apple computers, or Rolex watches, or vaguely nautical clothing. I mean the 2008 campaign for Louis Vuitton bags, shot by Annie Leibowitz, with the tagline, “There are journeys that turn into legends.” […]

Considering How My Light is Spent

The spider came out of the molding in the bathroom, saw me, and scurried back into the jamb. It meant me no harm, and if given voice might even admit I am of some use in it making a living. We serve other creatures in many ways, some of them surprising. The latest research from […]

Yossarian Lives, But Not at Hulu

The first season (six episodes) of the new series Catch-22, co-directed and executive-produced by George Clooney, is available now on Hulu. I was cautiously optimistic, going by the trailer that loads up the novel-like bits, and by the enthusiasm of author Joseph Heller’s daughter on social media. A movie was made from the novel in […]

The Merciful Scale of Life

For some butterflies, all of life is a few summer days of nectar and copulation, a few sweet nights of frogs singing from the ditch. Scale matters. A very brief life does not see much, and if lucky, sees only good. A flea can live like a burgher on a dog for its 90 days. […]

Trump Praises Environment at Louisiana LNG Facility

  President Donald Trump made a visit to southwest Louisiana’s new Cameron LNG plant yesterday—the same day that the first of its three “trains” (production lines) became operational. There are plans for two more trains at the site, which is 20 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and 30 miles from Texas. The plant is […]

What a Puzzle is Kindness

Henry James’ biographer Leon Edel uses an anecdote from James’ nephew Billy, who visited Henry in England in 1902 and says his uncle told him: “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” As inspirational quotes will, […]