Text Messages

The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, begins like many good tales, and plenty of bad ones, with an introduction. We don’t meet the brothers themselves, the three protagonists whose complicated relationships with their father provide most of the conflict, but instead the Karamazov patriarch. He is, to put it mildly, not the hero of this…

On Entering A Bookstore In My Thirties

All the people you could have been had you chosen differently—they haunt the bookstore alongside the person you became and could still become. Steve Edwards It’s been ages since I was alone in a bookstore. I’m not sure I remember the last time, actually, though to be perfectly accurate I’m not even alone now. But…

In The Heights & Christmas Lights

I’m home! Where people come People go Let me show all of these People what I know There’s no place like home! … I’m home! Where it’s a hundred in the shade But with patience and faith We remain unafraid I’m home! You hear that music in the air? Take the train to the top…

American Girls

I’m just going to say that “nesting” made me do it. Nesting, that biological imperative. That habit we share with creatures who spend their last days of gestation preparing a home for their coming little ones. That urge to go to Target just to look at small clothes and different shapes of pacifiers. That millionth…

Home Is Where We Start From

Three days into spring break, I find myself on a windy hilltop, alone and reading poetry. At my back is the high outer wall of Rodborough Fort, a well-kept castle of indeterminate history or function, not open to the public but apparently available to lease. I text Timmy a picture of the castle and the…

The Civilly Disobedient

Is it ever right–ethically or morally–to break the law? Explain why or why not. -Honors American Literature journal question, Monday It’s always a good day when I get to stand on a chair. I sense that the students understand this, also, even as they mutter about being hustled, a few minutes into class, from their…

Angelina & The Lupine Lady

“That is all very well, little Alice,” said her grandfather, “but there is a third thing you must do.” “What is that?” asked Alice. “You must do something to make the world more beautiful,” said her grandfather. “All right,” said Alice. But she did not know what that could be. In the meantime Alice got…

What Mary Knew

It’s Happy Hour. Not the Happy Hour of years past, but Luci and I have developed our own five o’ clock rhythm lately, while Timmy is at basketball practice. Luci sits in her high chair in the kitchen, while I make dinner and serve her bits of small food, a few pieces at a time,…

Then & Now

Then It’s me, three bags and a violin, and climb the three floors to my new apartment downtown at the end of a hot summer day. I’ve taken three trains today, from Austria to my new home in Southwestern Germany. This morning, my new boss told me that I wouldn’t be teaching the classes I’d planned…

Gluten & Gatsby

‘Tis the night before “school Valentine’s Day”–known by everyone else as Friday, or to the superstitious as Friday the 13th–and I’m baking cookies. Everyone, it seems, needs cookies tomorrow. There are some for my sixth period class, a tiny collection of eight students who managed to hold the best debate on whether Gatsby truly loved…