Author Archive
The Slippery Slope of Social Media

The Slippery Slope of Social Media

I am a writer who recently noticed I spend more time reading articles about writing, absorbing Top Ten lists of famous authors’ work practices, and laughing at clever memes than doing any writing. Social media is an infinite playground for intellectual stimulation. It is an unhinged door with no threat of being closed.

Maybe in America: A Review of Captain Phillips

Maybe in America: A Review of Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips, the new film based on a real-life encounter between an American commercial-shipping crew and Somalian pirates, opens with the titular character in Vermont, driving to the airport with his wife. Richard Phillips expresses concern about the state of the shipping industry, sunk by the global recession that struck a year earlier. On the other side of the globe, Muse, a poor Somalian fisherman forced into piracy by his own economic woes, wakes up to news that the local warlord has demanded that his village capture another ship, or suffer violent consequences. The angular fisherman-turned-pirate is an obvious foil for Phillips, their stories woven together through crosscut scenes that emphasize the economic anxieties shared by the men, even as they highlight the brutality of the Horn of Africa’s most chaotic state.

Rebel Blues: A Review of Mojo Hand

Rebel Blues: A Review of Mojo Hand

Blues legend Sam Hopkins — known as Lightnin’ Hopkins to his fans — influenced everyone from musical giants like Bob Dylan and John Coltrane to activists like Black Panther Party cofounder Bobby Seale. Long after his death, Rolling Stone named him one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Yet not much is known about him. Notoriously private, Hopkins fabricated and exaggerated details about his early life, preferring to keep his origins a mystery. Mojo Hand, a new biography of Hopkins, details the obscure life and music of an iconoclastic bluesman who was the consummate musician’s musician, inspiring legions of artists across many genres.

Call for Submissions: Incompetence + Stupidity

From social inanities to institutionalized idiocies, we are looking for pieces — both serious and lighthearted — that speak to the all-too-human nature of ineptitude.

Power Failure

Power Failure

Lately, as a result of planning my wedding, there’s been a lot of talk among my buddies about what drives the expensive social conservatism we see during our various social and religious ceremonies in India. There is, of course, the cash-flashing, wealth-waving syndrome that leads to obscene shows of buying power, and the media-spurred my-fairy-tale-wedding delusion, but what spurs people with sensible plans and ideological commitments to chuck it all and take a nosedive into these pro forma spectacles of self-destructive wastage?

The Long March: A Review of John Lewis's Graphic Novel

The Long March: A Review of John Lewis’s Graphic Novel

Fifty years after the March on Washington, John Lewis and his collaborators offer a new visual take on the protests and the people behind them, in the graphic novel March, an illustrated (and unconventional) autobiography of the civil rights leader and longtime member of Congress. In a way, the book brings Lewis full circle: Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, a comic book published in 1956, helped inspire him to take up the nonviolent cause as a teenager.

All I Know Is Here

All I Know Is Here

Best of In The Fray 2013. Raised in small-town Minnesota, college student Shelby Wolfe traveled to Ethiopia to shoot images for a documentary about poverty. There she met Rahel, a fourteen-year-old girl orphaned by AIDS.

His Eyes

His Eyes

The expression of a male stranger catches a coffee shop patron by surprise. His eyes remind the young woman of her late father’s, leading her mind to drift between the past and present.

Looking Back on Abortion in America

Looking Back on Abortion in America

In this excerpt from her recently published book Generation Roe, pro-choice activist Sarah Erdreich talks with women who had an abortion and discusses the complicated set of emotions they bring to the abortion debate — even decades after the procedure.

I Ran with the Bulls in Pamplona

I Ran with the Bulls in Pamplona

Last July, four women undertook the life-threatening adventure of running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. They did it to feel the excitement. They did it to test their bravery. They did it to inspire other women to take their chances among los toros, too.

Call for Submissions: Secrets

How does secrecy, even if well-intentioned, affect human relationships? To what extent does it undermine the credibility of government institutions? Does full transparency help or hurt us? In The Fray wants to know your secrets.

Rough Guides: Sherpas for Hire in the Himalayas

Rough Guides: Sherpas for Hire in the Himalayas

Best of In The Fray 2013. Each spring, hundreds of foreigners converge on Mount Everest, hoping to conquer the world’s highest peak. With them come jobs for Sherpa guides, porters, and guesthouse workers—and lethal risks for those stuck on the mountain’s crowded slopes.