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A Message From the Emperor

Somehow in the concision of this story, Kafka manages to touch eternity and in doing so touch what has always, since childhood, freaked me out about eternity.

A Pair of Brown Eyes

So what right do people like us have to write about suffering, and if we do have a right, what authority can we bring to the task? A couple things come to mind.

The Proverbs of Hell

1. In childhood, run. In youth, laugh. In mid-age, accumulate. 2. In old age, weep. If the living could see Hades, they would not call it death. 3. Excess with open hand is charity; excess with open eyes is greed.

MacLeod’s Folly

Above the Scottish harbor town of Portree on a wooded hill known as The Lump stands what looks like an ancient watchtower, gazing blindly past the shoulders of the mountains to the Sound of Raasay.

A Fire Devours Before Him

It started out as a family errand: Ahmed Haithem Ahmed was driving his mother, Mohassin, to pick up his father from the hospital where he worked.

Aquavitae: My Life in Four Drinks

We were servers, carrying trays of bruschetta between the tables and out onto the veranda where the sun was bright on the Lake and the bare shoulders of the bridesmaids. I was 17.

News of No One

On the bench, cradling the bottle, he folds over on himself and sits with the permanence of a doll on the top shelf of a woman’s girlhood closet. From the window above, the guard calls the dispatcher.