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.

May 31, 2018

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

For me, toothpicks—like Zippo lighters and typewriters and vinyl records—have always signified classic coolness. My grandfather, a Brooklyn car mechanic and TV fix-it guy, chewed them compulsively and I fell in love with toothpicks because of him.

May 24, 2018

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

Within the span of one month, our children had stood on the front porch of the house that Martin Luther King Jr. was born in and also stood in the parking lot looking up at the balcony where his life was so cruelly snatched from him. Beginnings and endings. Life and death. Happiness and sorrow. Ebb and flow.

May 16, 2018

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

Speculation is delicious. Meditating on half of a cake, pondering its varieties and iterations, contemplating its value as an edible commodity and a social comestible . . . that is pure pleasure. An answer is satisfying, but speculation is limitless.

May 03, 2018

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

I was consciously conquering trials from my personal history, reforming established truths I’d carried for years about my body’s capabilities. I’d begun to think that my aging body was incapable of such discoveries. I had been resigned that the fault lines of my life would remain with me resolutely. And yet.

April 26, 2018

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

It is easy to dismiss a person as ignorant; it is hard to recognize the ways in which I am still ignorant. My ego retaliates violently against this possibility because it threatens my self-image as a Good Person, the moral superiority that enables me to pity those with whom I disagree from the relative safety of higher ground.

April 19, 2018

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

Across two lanes of traffic—an alarmingly short distance—he executed a round-off, back handspring, and back flip. He was so high in the air I could see him over four rows of cars in front of me. The heat shimmered up off the pavement and broken glass around him. He fetched a cup from the curb, and I watched him pass every car window, including my own, without collecting anything. The light turned green.

April 12, 2018

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

For me, obsession with art is also about survival. I’m after the next thing, the next moment that will give shape or purpose to existence. It’s always been important for me to fill my days like this, to give definition to who I am and who I will be by engulfing myself in what I’m watching and listening to and reading. Getting lost in art that moves me just makes things make sense.

April 05, 2018

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

I quickly identified a mockingbird in the branches above us. And it was close, low, singing and calling its tiny bird heart out. I was instantly de-stressed, instantly at ease and felt blessed to be standing so close to the mockingbird at that moment because the song, the calls, the beauty felt like secrets, gifts I shouldn’t ignore.

March 29, 2018

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

Severance, Katherine Yungmee Kim’s ongoing exploration of one of the world’s most dangerous geopolitical borders, is a visual “novel” that incorporates text and archival and family photographs to trace a personal and political history of the Korean peninsula’s Demilitarized Zone.