August 09, 2018

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

Writing is lonely work—because of the solitude, but also because it does not quiet the mind the way physical toil does. Instead, as I exert myself at my desk, the clamor of my internal voice and thoughts grow more and more voluble. In that restlessness, I’ve begun to survey the landscape, all the possessions my friends have amassed, and I’ve begun to think of my page counts and word counts as flimsy by comparison.

August 02, 2018

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

The pilgrimage to The Store is a ritual exercise of re-centering that anchors me in something common and universal; strangers converge at a single nexus for that unavoidable suburban rite, the completion of errands, and I happily join the other shoppers wandering through rows of soda, dog food, and detergent like a sleepy school of fish.


July 26, 2018

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

When I arrived, about thirty students—ages six to fifteen—were heavily bundled against the cold and standing on a low, concrete stage built into the side of a small hill in the middle of the playground. They sang happy birthday to Madiba twice before the cameraman was satisfied with their volume.

July 19, 2018

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

Even when Ridley pans a movie, he does it with heart. His takedown of Luc Besson’s The Messenger is written as “a short story that imagines a film executive in purgatory summoning Carl Theodore Dreyer [director of the ethereal and perfect The Passion of Joan of Arc] to his office.” Haruch says this is “a doff of the cap, of sorts, to Godard’s notion that one should make a movie to criticize a movie.”

July 12, 2018

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

In the spring and summer, I make a habit of sitting on our deck in the mornings and as far into the afternoons as the Kentucky sun, heat, humidity, allergies, and mosquitoes allow. I also like to sit up in the treehouse in our yard that my husband built for our children—but he and I love and use it too—with my books and my fizzy strawberry pop.

July 05, 2018

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

“Point d’eau” gives viewers an unusual vantage on the difficult and improvisational lives of these migrants by focusing closely, respectfully, on one specific issue, water. A court ruling in June 2017 obliged the city of Calais to provide them with public water access, but there are still approximately “1,300 to 1,500 exiles in northern France who are being denied access to safe drinking water and sanitation services—basic human rights,” says Kantorowicz Torres.

June 27, 2018

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

My father was not so different than Gerty. He was a King Ranch man through and through. He spoke English and Spanish as one language, making one body of words from the branchy rivers of South Texas.

June 21, 2018

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

Going to a gay bar was an expedient, in that presumably most patrons would be available. I hoped that meeting someone would be easier there. I managed two solo voyages to the same gay bar in town, a slick, modern dive where I mostly sat and swiped messages on my phone apps while flirting with the straight bartenders, two ringers planted because of their willingness to be ogled and their very legible masculinity.

June 14, 2018

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

Violence as a concept is easy to oppose, but it is harder to condemn human beings tangled in the various machines of violence that permeate our world. I’m unable to clear the hurdle of invalidation it takes to dismiss a person completely; I find myself more dismayed than critical. My opinions about violence, war, and guns, however deeply rooted, are predicated upon second-hand knowledge of others’ experience.


June 07, 2018

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

Soon I understood that when South Africans asked what I thought about South Africa, they expected me to make big-picture generalizations about my country and theirs, but I was focused on literal scenery—birds and trees and flowers—that did not much matter to them.