Category Archives: writing

Of Books and Brownstones

  As a child, I knew nothing about the east coast; what I understood about the metropolis of New York City came from Sesame Street. The show debuted in 1969, so my family was probably living in Wisconsin when I … Continue reading

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Apocalypse

“Let’s start with the end of the world, why don’t we?” So begins N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, which appeared under our Christmas tree wrapped in cheerful, glittery paper. Arline gave me the boxed Broken Earth trilogy, knowing I’ve been … Continue reading

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Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929-2018

Our class took a break one sunny afternoon and hiked along the McKenzie River in the Willamette National Forest of Oregon. Our teacher, Ursula Le Guin, led the way, naming the trees, shrubs, ferns, and groundcovers. It was the summer … Continue reading

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Translation

At a recent conference on literary translation, Arline and I sat in a beige hotel ballroom, listening to a panelist make painful, even nonsensical, generalizations about Panamanian literature. When the panel started taking questions, we escaped to the lobby and … Continue reading

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A Notable Essay!

Recently, my essayist friends were posting on Facebook about the new Best American Essays, due out any day. A certain online retailer allows you to virtually page through books, and my friends were searching the back matter for their own … Continue reading

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The Last Night

I’m typing at the dining room table of my cottage at the Whiteley Center on San Juan Island, where I’ve been writing for a week. This last night, the sky slowly darkens behind the darker firs, and the first evening … Continue reading

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Anguish Time

In the Church of Saint Francis — Igreja de São Francisco — in Porto, Portugal, believers once dropped coins into alms boxes, whispered prayers, and hoped that someone was listening. These painted wooden boxes are now nailed to a wall … Continue reading

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