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

Soldiers, Cell Phones, and Security

One problem for our armed forces is the same as it is for the civilian world: We use devices, the devices collect data on where we are and what we do, and this makes us vulnerable to “bad actors.” As a recent report puts it, “Malicious use of data: the usage of data exploiting vulnerabilities […]

Sean Singer: Of Taxis and Poems

A few years ago I saw on social media that an acquaintance, who is an award-winning poet, drove taxis, Lyft, and Uber in New York City. Always interested in how artists earn their livings, I asked if he intended to use his experiences in his poetry. He did not think so then, but things change. […]

Stolen Valor Has Consequences

The photo of a US Army Sergeant First Class in dress blues appeared two days ago on a closed Facebook group for veterans. The petite, startled-looking man in the uniform, whose neck could use a good shave to bring him up to regs, has apparently seen a lot of action. His chest is a fruit-salad […]

I Eat the Ugly Food: A Father’s Resumé

I take the watch, morning and night. Check on your sleep. Kiss your foreheads. Wake you gently. Have made most of the meals you have eaten and give you the lion’s share, now you need it and I do not. Clean kitchen, clean plates, clean floors, clean toilets, clean tubs, make beds. Paint murals on […]

Finding Your Way Without Digital Technology

GPS-enabled apps have changed things so completely, for the average person with access to a device, that it is surprising to remember GPS only became widely available to consumers around the year 2000. What did we do before we had talking maps in our pockets? Printed out sheets of instructions from online maps, I guess, […]

America the Blessed

Whenever I hear of ‘culture’… I release the safety-catch of my Browning [pistol]!      —A line in Hanns Johst’s play Schlageter, often misattributed to Nazi leaders   When I hear of Schrödinger’s cat, I reach for my gun.      —Stephen Hawking   When I hear the words ‘phenomenology’ or ‘structuralism,’ I reach for […]

Giving Up on the Past

It is a mark of high intelligence when young people get frustrated with their elders for forgetting the past. They suspect somebody is hiding something, or has been careless with their legacy, or was being lazy. How hard is it to remember what relatives were like; what years certain events played out; the proper technique […]

Only Mostly Dead

“[I]t is your duty to learn how to resuscitate a lizard,” a writer in Arizona told pool owners in the Southwest, on her blog, in 2014. She provided instructions for CPR. Three years later a woman in Nevada brought a lizard back from a near-drowning in her pool. No word if the two are related, […]

The Welter of the First College Visit

College enrollments in the United States were down again last year, from the previous fall. That would not have been evident by attendance at Tulane University’s recent Louisiana Day. McAlister Auditorium was nearly full of state residents with enough interest in the kids applying to the school, this fall or next, to have taken the […]

Pressing Memories

Ever stop to memorize something you are experiencing, and it seems as if you can actually feel it grooving into the hippocampus, like cutting a record? Maybe you press harder on the details—especially if you do not have a camera, voice recorder, or even a pen—and go over them repeatedly in your mind until satisfied […]