Facing the Beast

The plan was to go back to Saigon for a second tour, but we never did due to the war, the subsequent embargo, and the dissolution of my family. My mother kept the beauty of Vietnam and its people vivid before my eyes, like a sandalwood-scented dream.

Ibsen’s Great Haunting

Ghosts is a drama of many themes. At its core, though, is the idea of “sickness” as the inexorable tide we push for, or against. It is the one drama—dare it be said, the only?—wherein “sickness” becomes the widest possible metaphor not just for disease, but inherited social convention, accepted ideology, and the crucible of family without which we cannot survive, but in which we can also decay and die.

Underneath the Melting Pot

Melting under conditions of extreme heat is only undertaken with considerable suffering and loss, but generations of white Americans have felt the loss of forgetting to be worth it, if not a little bit because they would rather be what is melted than the pot.

Essay of the Month: “The Modern Essay”

Of all forms of literature, however, the essay is the one which least calls for the use of long words. The principle which controls it is simply that it should give pleasure; the desire which impels us when we take it from the shelf is simply to receive pleasure. Everything in an essay must be subdued to that end.

You Really Love Nature. Does That Make You an Ecofascist?

We hurtle through the vacuum of space in a miraculous terrarium that supports life. It is the only one we know of. Caring for its water, soil, air, flora, and fauna seems like a good idea. But priorities get complicated, and you might be surprised at what people think of yours.

College, Interrupted

By their own admission, they are a little driven, used to studying among some of the brightest minds in the country, with goals held up that most folks never attain. Now all that has skidded to a partial halt, and they are sitting in their childhood bedroom fighting the temptations of a nap or a Netflix binge.

Ambiguity In the Time of COVID-19

My usual response when I decide that any aspect of my life is spiraling out from under my possession is usually the impulse to regain control in whatever way possible. But as I settled into an unfamiliar back room of my parent’s new apartment, months and months of uncertainty stretched out onto the bare white walls around me. I felt any semblance of a “plan” spiral out into a realm that I could no longer grasp.