I was born to two people in mourning. One for the loss of a mother, the other the loss of a great friend. They split up when I was no more than three years old, each taking their grief elsewhere, neither one of them being done with it — only with each other. I’ll never […]

Powerful Words

In late 2012, a man whom I admired very much passed away. I recalled something one of his students once said to me, long before death shadowed our teacher’s life. “It only takes one word, true or not, to ruin a man’s reputation,” he warned. The student was at a party when some of his […]

I found a life buried in another, one day in Oakland.

During World War II a black guard at a Japanese internment camp in Arkansas received a tip. An interned Japanese American told him that in California the camps paid better, and that guards got to live in the homes of evicted citizens. So he moved to Oakland, and 60 years later, he still lives in […]

A beautiful sentence

Some time in the not so distant past I lost my love of syntax. Slowly, I aim to recover it. Here’s a reason to be hopeful: “If you want to see the girl next door, go next door.” — Joan Crawford