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

Donut Scoff, Friends

The stretch of coastal Louisiana called Acadiana, from the Texas border to almost New Orleans, is often sold as a foodie culture, though its people would never call it that. The Francophone foodway has adapted to local resources, so French mirepoix, for instance, (carrots, celery, onion) became the Cajun “holy trinity” (green bell pepper, celery, […]

The Louisiana Elegies

Coastal Louisiana is sinking, and the sea is rising, faster than anywhere on earth. Water cuts through everything—in gutters, culverts, ditches, swales, bayous, rivers, estuaries, channels, and lakes. Tropical downpours flood the streets, stall traffic, pour over doorsills into homes. Geysers spurt out of manhole covers. Cattle stand in mud on the edge of town, watching […]

Knowing Puddles

  Puddles Pity Party was in town last night. I felt like the guy in front of me in line for the second Star Wars movie, in 1980, who poured bags of loose change onto the ticket counter and cried, “I’ve been waiting for this for three years!” If you are still living in the […]

Clark Gable Will Never Quit

San Francisco (1936) is a four-star film at Turner Classic Movies. It stars Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, and Spencer Tracy, and is set in the months leading up to the 1906 earthquake. IMDB says it is about “A Barbary Coast saloonkeeper and a Nob Hill impresario [who] are rivals for the affections of a beautiful […]

Upon This Rock

Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? Or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? —Job 38:16   The Old Minster at Winchester Cathedral was built in 645 AD. By the year 1000 there was a cathedral there about one-third the size of today’s. But the site was swampy and peaty, […]

The Apparition of a Face in the Crowd

I went to a reading the other night for someone I have known for a decade. I call him a friend, but really we are something between Facebook friends and former colleagues who rarely saw each other in person. We have kept in spotty touch, and several times he was generous enough to Skype-in to […]

Consider the Cell Tower

Driving across the Midwest at harvest, one experiences again the long vistas of sun slanting on fields, dust rising from combines, farmhouses and pole barns at great distances like Monopoly houses waiting on a roll of the dice. Cornucopia, plenty, gratitude, safety, blessings:   Come, ye thankful people, come, Raise the song of harvest home! […]

Of Focus and Technology

Brace yourself: I have discovered an American middle-class couple who leave their phones on the kitchen table when they work elsewhere in the house or in their yard, and they do not check them when they come back. They also turn their phones off at night, and when they leave the house to go out, […]

Everything Old Must Be Sold Again

In just about every measure the American middle- and upper-middle class act like new money. One need only glance at photos on social media that portray consumption and appearance to see that our culture violates all the “golden rules” —if you believe in that sort of thing—of those who have long had money: “Don’t tell […]

Rocket Men

NPR ran a story this week on a new “space mining” program at the Colorado School of Mines, which turned out to be misleading. In reality, it is “The first program in the world focused on educating scientists, engineers, economists, entrepreneurs, and policy makers in the developing field of space resources.” CSM’s intent is to […]