April 17, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

If you’ve never been a young person on a big campaign, it’s hard to convey how thrilling the atmosphere is—part cult, part war, with stolen intervals of shore-leave. It went on for six months, through a January run-off, and it was a euphoric experience.

April 09, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

Understand my irreverence was never situated in disrespect or unkindness. First he was a man and then he was a star and then he was a legend and then he was a caricature and finally an abstraction. This is the life cycle of commodification. By the time I first heard the name we were well into the weeds.

April 03, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

Looking for souvenirs to take back to your lovers, to prove you thought about them once in the midst of heat, toil, and hardly thinking about them at all? I recommend rebar. I recommend marbles. I recommend shards of shingles, nineteenth-century medicine bottles, forks, mountains of old bricks hoisted from the dirt, as if a whole other city had been built beneath this grass and sodded over. Keep your prize finds, a shelf of rust and porcelain and plastic, as if an archaeologist might one day stop by. 

 

March 21, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

Dining out was not something I got to experience every day, but when I did, it was special and I wanted to participate in the way that made sense to me. From my point of view, the best gig in the restaurant was the person who brought me my food. How could I not want to be her when I grew up? You spend the day making people happy with giant plates of dinner they couldn’t have made better at home!

 

March 13, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By.

There is no static history. It lives on, layered in the landscape, painted on the brick mills. Through investigating the ripples of the words and deeds of local postbellum industrialist Julian Shakespeare Carr, paradoxically called “the most generous white supremacist,” and reenacting scenes from the childhood of Pauli Murray, an unsung civil and women’s rights activist, the film scratches away at surfaces of stories about Durham, North Carolina.

March 07, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

I devoted twenty years of my life to football. Played quarterback at every level: peewee to professional. After my playing days were done, I coached high school ball for five years. I stepped away from the game two years ago, after my daughter was born; there just wasn’t enough time for both. 

February 28, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

To remember your death is to know a powerful clarifying truth: this ain’t no dress rehearsal. My favorite Stoic, Epictetus, suggests we teach our children this as we tuck them in bed each night. “What harm is it,” asks Epictetus, with a straight face, “just when you are kissing your little child, to say: Tomorrow you will die?” To which I think, have you ever met a child?

February 21, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

As for the movie I’m watching, I came to adore it more than I ever expected to. It sent me down a Lou Reed rabbit hole. Transformer and Mick Ronson led to Bolan and Mott and then to glam writ large. For a theater kid with a nascent interest in songwriting, the serotonin fireworks are nearly impossible to describe.

January 09, 2019

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

I yanked down a shoebox of old letters, and a tiny folded sheet of paper floated out: a hand-drawn cartoon card that Scott had given me the year I played with Frightened Rabbit in Austin, Texas on my birthday. I kneeled down and doubled over, suddenly blinded with tears. This casual display of unprompted thoughtfulness for another human being had made the magnitude of loss apparent.

December 20, 2018

An installment in our weekly series, The By and By. 

The Jim Ridley line that I wrote about in a previous column, his beautiful notion that “you can find your voice by loving things”—that’s absolutely true. What’s also true is that you can build your history by loving things.