Writing Process as a Way of Life

“You’re particularly fragile today,” a friend in LA told me. Writers are a moody bunch, but I remonstrated. “Actually, I’ve been unaccountably happy this week,” I said, which irritated him more. All I could say to explain was that Russell Crowe and other leading men of my age group had been in the tabloids lately, […]

Delight is an RV

“We can do without pleasure, but not delight.” -Jack Gilbert, from his poem, “A Brief for the Defense” Delight is an RV parked near the barn of my grandparents’ small-town Missouri farm, where the crab apple orchard, blackberry bushes, and hobby herd of cattle converge. We have gained access into this magical place, packing a […]

“5 Jobs I’ve Had”

Trending on Twitter this week for those of us who “can’t even” on the social media site was the textual meme, “5 Jobs I’ve Had.” Like most things born on the Internet, the cultural roots and class-based ramifications of this deceptively simple list say so much more about us than the five jobs we once […]

Endgame and that Sinking Feeling

Avengers: Endgame comes out tonight. My son asked if I wanted to see it in the theater, and I said I could wait for streaming. Many feel differently. Word on the street is that some believe the movie is a defining moment in a generation, the way Star Wars was, a long time ago in […]

Masters of Policy

Understanding the Role of Governments in Regulating Economies In 1681, when a group of French businessmen led by M. Le Gendre met the French Controller-General of Finances Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the minister asked the businessmen how the French state could be of assistance to the merchants. Le Gendre simply replied: “Laissez-nous faire” (leave it to us). […]

The Lessons of Vulnerability Go Both Ways

A teen boy broke his leg recently, had surgery, and three weeks later is still bedridden. He wanted to tell me something, he said seriously. I am his primary caregiver, as the phrase goes, which is to say his father and his nurse. As I was shutting the curtains to keep the afternoon sun from […]

Lost-Cell-Phone Lessons

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself.” –Matsuo Bashō On the day the Lord hath risen, I lost my cell phone between the hours of 8:31 a.m. and 10:38 a.m. The phone, unfortunately, has been missing in action for two days now with no sign of resurrection. I am now […]

Mint and Vinegar

Leaving the restaurant, I saw the poster of a rugby player, covered in mud, hair matted, missing teeth, eye swollen shut. He looked like hell, and I laughed. One of my sons wanted to know what my deal was. I was more surprised at not being able to explain handily, than he was at the […]

Where Are The Lustron Homes of Today?

Almost every day, by foot or car, I pass by a stretch of egg-colored Lustron houses with square steel exterior tiles in pale yellow, Robin’s egg blue, and dove grey. The porcelain enameled-steel readymade homes were a modernistic solution to the housing shortage many folks, especially GIs, faced after returning home after World War II. […]