April 21st, 2015 | 6:00am

Issue 09 is here! Read Amit Chaudhuri’s essay on Joni Mitchell, “Where Does the Time Go?” and pick up a copy of Issue 09 today.
 

My relationship with Joni Mitchell and her music moves through two stages. My early admiration for her—in the seventies—in some ways anticipated the zeitgeist. Then I stopped listening to her for about a quarter of a century. I began to rediscover Mitchell’s work in the new millennium, when, by coincidence, so was the rest of the world.

I grew up in Bombay in privileged circumstances. But privilege didn’t just have to do with money. Some people in the set I’m thinking of had less money; others had more. In fact, having too much money was looked down upon. . . . [Click here to read on...]

April 20th, 2015 | 6:00am

Issue 09 is here! Read Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker’s “The Common Statement” and pick up a copy of Issue 09 today.

El Morro guards the northwestern tip of the old city, a headland with sparkling three-sixty views. Poised to fire cannons and guns against approaching sea invaders, the stone castle—six zigzagging levels, walls thick as hallways—was built by the Spanish starting in the early 1500s. El Morro protected Spain’s “porto rico,” the harbor crucial to any European empire seeking a foothold in the resource-rich Caribbean basin. But while El Morro protected San Juan from a seaside attack, the city’s eastern flank remained exposed to ambush by land, a weakness exploited by the British in 1598, then the Dutch in 1625. . . . [Click here to read on...]

April 19th, 2015 | 6:00am

AMHERST, MA. APRIL 19 –The Commons Issue 09 takes readers on a journey around the globe to show us that although suffering can be found everywhere, so can empathy, beauty, and love. The issue contains short stories, poetry, essays, and images that explore human difficulty, and the ways in which the unique comforts of the most unexpected places, along with the places we hold most dear, can pull us through.

Photo by author
April 16th, 2015 | 6:00am

Photo by author

Your Name: Melissa Kwasny

Current city or town: Jefferson City, Montana

How long have you lived here? I live four miles up a dirt road from Jefferson City, a stage stop that has seen better days, hence the unlikely name Jefferson City. It consists of a post office, a bar that closes and reopens depending on the fortunes of a nearby gold mine, and a hall for the volunteer fire department, wherein we vote. I have lived in this particular canyon for 25 years, and in the shade of these particular mountains, on and off, for 40.

Three words to describe the climate: determined by light

Photo by author
April 15th, 2015 | 6:00am

Photo by author

My first day in Bukit Tinggi, a town in the rain forest-swathed mountains of West Sumatra—a region home to the Minangkabau ethnic group, the world’s largest matrilineal society—I swore I heard a woman calling the Muslim midday prayer broadcasting from a white mosque.