Essays

September 10, 2016

I carried the book with me, consulting it the way other eager travelers consult a Fodor's or Lonely Planet, or maybe the way a pilgrim consults a spiritual guide. 

Photo by Flickr user Neiljs

July 11, 2016

My husband’s nemesis is a taxi driver who is always parked at the end of our block. He has a luxury vehicle, an old Mercedes, which looks out of place on these long-neglected, pocky streets.

Photo by author

March 3, 2016

When I enter the Merrill apartment, it feels like another world. . . Ouija room to the left, Merrill’s study and library hidden behind the sliding bookcases to my right.

Photo by author

November 27, 2015

While she describes the elk as female, a cow, I’m still seeing a bull’s antlers crashing through the windshield, her body flailing as the truck rolls on its side and skids to a stop.

September 19, 2015

Each page marks a point in time where I or someone said, you should make thisOr perhaps more precisely, here, go, make.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Oliphant

September 8, 2015

In Kathmandu, with money comes the right to fence a yard and cultivate a bit of nature against the city. . . . They were little oases, while the nearby roads were harsh realities.

Old Dewey Bridge. Photo by author.

August 13, 2015

I latched onto the idea that I myself had never driven across the country before, had never experienced the typically American rite of passage known as “the road trip.” This was something I needed to do. Now. Alone.
Photo from Young Frankenstein; by Flickr Creative Commons user Insomnia Cured Here

May 11, 2015

Photo from Young Frankenstein; by Flickr Creative Commons user Insomnia Cured Here

The last thing I remember about my father was him walking away wearing his camel coat. I remember him from the back, his dark hair escaping from his hat.

It was Christmas evening and it was cold, for Rome at least. He had just accompanied me to a train, which I would take to reach my cousins in Calabria. He was not happy that I was leaving, and would die a few hours later. A stroke, the doctors said.

The following day I took the train back to Rome, to find the house full of smoking people and my mother crying. I was 15 and my grandparents were all alive: it felt unnatural, like a house with a Nativity scene, but with a coffin.

I went to the movies the day after the funeral: cinema was something that I had shared with my father; it was a way to still be with him.

April 27, 2015

We were on the small roads that sometimes turn gravel, sometimes dead end, when we found it. This was Vermont, about ten years ago, our first road trip together: a circuit of swimming holes, picnics, and stops for general store ice cream. We passed a series of “Take Back Vermont” signs. Somewhere along the way we came upon the man, who by all appearances seemed to be a Hare Krishna devotee, having a yard sale. It was here in the sunny warm greenness that we found THE PEOPLE’S CYCLOPEDIA OF UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE, WITH NUMEROUS APPENDIXES INVALUABLE FOR REFERENCE IN ALL DEPARTMENTS OF INDUSTRIAL LIFE. BROUGHT DOWN TO THE YEAR 1885.

Photo by author

February 13, 2015

Photo by author

1. Seocho via Gangnam

My family and I are struggling along Teheran Road in Seocho-dong, Seoul, and it is my fault. I should have conducted us one stop farther to Gangnam Station, where the number ten exit would have deposited us in front of our destination, but we are disoriented by the city’s newness and haven’t yet learned the subway stations, nor do we know the banks and stores and restaurants piled atop each other in metallic high-rises footnoted by cafés and tea rooms and dessert shops. It is late May, nearly summer, when people punctuate meals with shaved ice covered with red bean jelly, rice cakes, diced fruit, grain powder, green tea, condensed milk, and ice cream for more richness.

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