Author Archive
The Graphic Canon: Literature Gets a Modern Kick

The Graphic Canon: Literature Gets a Modern Kick

In The Graphic Canon, comic artists reimagine dozens of classic works of literature, philosophy, and religion. The result, says creator Russ Kick, is like The Norton Anthology with pictures, drawn by an army of emerging artists who provide their personal — and sometimes unexpected — gloss on the world's great books.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

I didn't expect a collection of stories about the inner struggles of psychoanalysis patients to be so much like a detective novel. Yet, in The Examined Life parallels abound. Clues are uncovered slowly in each chapter and a mystery unfolds. Hidden motivations are unearthed by identifying the meaningful in the mundane.

The Discomfort of #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen

The Discomfort of #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen

#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen wasn't meant to be an invitation for white women to participate in a discussion about white women's privilege — again. It was intended to be an outlet for a woman of color's frustrations. It turned into a clever litany of injuries women of color have endured (and do endure) due to the actions (and inactions) of white women whose solidarity has been illusive.

Changing the Conversation on Abortion

Changing the Conversation on Abortion

As I learned to value community more than ideology, I became less certain that dogmatism creates a better world. Now, I no longer use abortion as a litmus test for determining whether someone’s perspective is “right” or “wrong.” To me, abortion is a health-care necessity, it is a human right, and sometimes, it is a heartbreaking tragedy.

Celebrating Supreme Court Wins for Sexual Rights

Celebrating Supreme Court Wins for Sexual Rights

This month Americans are celebrating two historic victories for sexual rights handed down by the Supreme Court: the eradication of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the weakening of a law that required groups fighting AIDS to make an "antiprostitution pledge."

Is it Time to Put Morality on the Market?

Is it Time to Put Morality on the Market?

Over the last thirty years, Americans have seen an infusion of market thinking into areas that were previously governed by collective ethics and morality. Today, the drive to make a profit dictates the way we view things like health, education, national security, criminal justice, environmental protection, and even procreation. In What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Harvard University professor Michael J. Sandel argues that markets have become detached from morals, and that it's time we reconnect them.

Putting a Human Face on Climate Change

Putting a Human Face on Climate Change

Talk of climate change seems to be everywhere these days. From elected officials in Washington, DC, to the farmers of rural India, people hold wildly divergent opinions about the ways climate change is affecting our lives, and the impact it will have in the future. In spite of widespread disagreement, many people are already seeing the consequences of climate change in the form of more storms, less rainfall, and severe flooding in their countries. Although the slower-onset disasters may be imperceptible to some, the rising sea levels, higher global temperatures, and food shortages are being endured by many.

Birthday Reflections on Obsessive Reading

Birthday Reflections on Obsessive Reading

I discovered I had bibliophilic tendencies when I was a child, and though I'd like to attribute this trait to precocious proclivities, it was more likely the personal pan pizza BOOK IT!® awards my elementary school gave out for reading. I grew up on a household where fast food was a luxury my single mother could not afford. So, in order to earn a dinnertime treat for my sisters and me, I would obsessively read.

Curing Fernweh with Imagination

Curing Fernweh with Imagination

On Christmas Eve in 2008, I watched the sunset at Boudhanath in Kathmandu, Nepal, while hundreds of red-cloaked Buddhist monks chanted evening prayers and others circumambulated the stupa in silent meditation. In a cafe overlooking the scene, my partner and I sipped hot coffee and chatted with a group of monks-in-training, five British guys and one woman, who had come down to the city from a monastery in the Himalayas to indulge in earthly pleasures: beer, rum, coffee, and cigarettes.

The Megalomaniac's Shadow

The Megalomaniac’s Shadow

British journalist John Lanchester once famously described writers as being "shy megalomaniacs." I have pondered this somewhat humorous description in an attempt to better understand my own reasons for engaging in this excessively scrutinized profession — might I be a megalomaniac? I've also considered the connections it alludes to between writing, mental health, and pathology. (My interview with Joy Castro, for example, teases at the interplay of these concepts.) Certainly, there are writers who possess an audacious understanding of the value they bring to popular conversation and literary craft, but what is the effect of focusing on public personas that reflect bombast and bravado over consideration and humility? What is obscured by the megalomaniac's shadow?

Born Again: A Conversation with Writer Joy Castro

Born Again: A Conversation with Writer Joy Castro

Best of In The Fray 2013. At an early age, Joy Castro ran away from an abusive home and renounced her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness. What she found instead was a new set of beliefs and truths for herself.