My glorious moment today came from the Longform podcast. Aaron Lammer interviews New Yorker writer Sam Anderson, who puts into concrete form the struggle I’m up against. I’m grappling with a super-sized project involving tens of thousands of document pages and dozens of hours of interviews and interview transcripts. This, an entire universe of content, … Continue reading A universe of content
God Holds You offers a chronicle of hope. As we entered the Pandemic Wilderness in March 2020, progressive Lutheran pastor Sarah Scherschligt began publishing daily reflections about adapting to the new constraints. Written with her congregation in mind, these real-time posts transcend the self and her faith community to form a relatable narrative that is both … Continue reading What is mine to do?
Used to be I could write by hand for ninety minutes at a stretch. My first attempt at a novel, a quarter century ago, I wrote two drafts out longhand, sometimes squatting on my haunches in the African bush, copybook resting on my thigh. I wrote physically as much as mentally (that story, a shoddy … Continue reading Losing it
I've taken on a surprising new assignment. I have a nice official title, but what it boils down to really is writer in residence. And what is this residence? I report to a cozy white cottage behind a row of heirloom corn off the beaten paths traversing the expansive training grounds of our nation’s foreign … Continue reading A writer in residence
Micro-fiction channeling moments of truth. Walking the forests of the Shenandoah National Park last week, I thought about how I'd pass the days and weeks and months as a thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail. One exercise I settled on for keeping sane step after step was to craft a 100-word story each day out there. … Continue reading Ben’s Franklins
The Scarlet Tanager mostly hangs out in the upper canopy, making it a rare sighting for hikers in the Shenandoah National Park. This one visited us in the lower canopy, hunting insects for his mate or flashing his red plumage to make her love him. Mohan later rendered it in pen and color pencil. It … Continue reading Live on, Scarlet Tanager
I haven't thought about Tone-Lōc in years, but I woke up on Friday eager write about him. The next day, a horse called Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby. It so happens I’m also studying synchronicity right now. Here in Mumbai we’re living through our own Tone-Lōc moment, a sort of Tone-Lōc-down. It’s déjà vu … Continue reading Speaking of Tone-Lōc
My son asks how my satire of The Raven is coming along. It’s stalled, I say, and explain the problem. The first seven stanzas, more than a third of the poem, have nothing to do with the bird. Yet the inspiration to write this satire flaps all around me, every day, unavoidable reminders of their own absurdity: … Continue reading Poe’s Pigeon: “Poop Galore”
Referred to as the State Department, State, and DOS, the U.S. Department of State has recently been called by an unfitting new label. I don’t care about the insult. Hearing it called “deep state department” glances off as a meaningless jab. I’ve long inured myself against the public bluster. What concerns me more is the … Continue reading The United States Department of State
Favored by Alexander the Great, named for its inventor Iskender Efendi, five simple ingredients make this dish go POP. The flavor prunes the back of your tongue and sends it down your throat. Such creamy tang! The Chicken Iskender, my favorite dish, it must be shared with family. But, they are vegetarian…. What to do? Make … Continue reading The Great Iskander!