Boy

On the nature of violence.

When my brother was twelve, I found six mice nailed to the wall of the abandoned tree house in the woods near our apartment. He spent a lot of time there. It seemed to me the little mouse faces were frozen in agony. As though they’d been alive when he’d hammered the nails through them.

Watermarks

The author on his reverence for water.

The journey of a river from source to mouth resembles our own journey from birth to death, an analogy oft remarked, and yet the beginnings and endings of rivers are as fictional as those we impose on stories. There are headwaters to headwaters and no river ever really ends.

To Be, or Not to Be

“Choice is a great burden. The call to invent one’s life, and to do it continuously, can sound unendurable. Totalitarian regimes aim to stamp out the possibility of choice, but what aspiring autocrats do is promise to relieve one of the need to choose. This is the promise of “Make America Great Again”—it conjures the allure of an imaginary past in which one was free not to choose.”