Tiny Resurrections

When the sunlight shows itself in London, wise people get out and enjoy it; one never knows when it'll return.  I've caught on quickly, only after regretfully missing precious rays, destined to wait out the rain who knows how long before having the opportunity again.  I try not to limit my outings only to the light, but I tend to forge ahead despite the weather, exploring the many paths along the Thames, near my place. Past Hammersmith Bridge, past the rowing clubs that dot the river as often … [Read more...]

This Is New York

Walking through Times Square the other day, I happened upon a gaggle of people huddled together, smiling, looking up, holding their smart phones up to snap a photo. They looked so perfectly poised, like a flashmob awaiting their cue. I turned to see what they were looking at and saw they were looking at themselves projected onto a gigantic jumbotron screen which, if you stand in the right place, in front of and underneath it, you can see your face in supersized proportions. If this doesn’t sum … [Read more...]


When I arrive, I knock.  My grandmother is surprised to see me when she opens the door.  "Whale, Ree-gee-nuh," she clucks, "I thought you were comin' next week.  Not this week."  Two calendars hang on opposite walls.  One is still stuck on August but the other one is flipped to the October page.  My name is written then scratched out this week, circled for next week.  I fix the August page and make it October.  Above that calendar is where the clock hangs.  A gift from my dad, it governs this … [Read more...]

How to Write a Book – a Single Cicada Calling

The blue light of morning filters its way through the lush, green oak leaves outside my window.  The sound of the whirring ceiling fan combined with the humming cicadas confirm summer's hot arrival. It's been so long since I've been in Texas to witness the commencement of the relentless summer, summers that were once so familiar to me.  I'd forgotten how powerful ninety-five degree heat is, how it zaps you within seconds, draining you dry of energy.  I'd forgotten how cold air conditioning is … [Read more...]

Graffiti Love

Italian graffiti artist, Blu, is featured on Colossal today.  Seeing such obvious statements of the social and political reality in Italy reminds me of the importance of art when it comes to educating the masses.  Go into any church in Italy and you'll see frescoes covering every square centimeter.  Ancient walls and ceilings were not only canvases but opportunities to display a message, tell a story of hope, redemption, death and resurrection.  The paintings were commissioned with religion in … [Read more...]

Why We Love the Olympics

While I watched the opening ceremonies I wondered what it was that compels the whole world to care so much, still, this far into the future of the original Olympic games?  Why are we so enchanted?  After all these years, why are we still a captive audience?  Regardless of the history, regardless of culture or country, humanity as a whole seems to need these games. In May 2013 I spent five days with a group of American students at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.  For five days … [Read more...]

13 Things 2013 Taught Me

1. No matter where you are or what your situation is, good or bad, it will not be forever. 2. A good laugh is sacred. 3. Sacrifice is often necessary but not at all costs. 4. Life's most brilliant ideas can be hatched by taking a hot shower. 5. The best writing comes not from writing but living. 6. When you start drinking skim milk instead of whole milk, magical things begin to happen. This is how to be proactive when it comes to change. If you're feeling stuck, unstick … [Read more...]

Decisions, decisions

A few years ago a friend of mine, also a therapist, said something along the lines of this:  "If you're making a decision based on emotions, you're probably making the wrong decision.  If you're making your decision based on logic, then it's probably the right decision." Wait.  Had I heard that right?  Decisions, in order to the right, should be based on logic? This worried me.  For years.  It made me feel inadequate.  Maybe even a little desperate. Why? Because I'm human and … [Read more...]

An American in America Again

Somewhere in central Papua New Guinea a white, blue-eyed man hacks his way uphill through the thick jungle.  It’s almost dark by the time he finally arrives at the highest point of the hill.  He strains to see as he sets up the cell phone receptor tower he has carried with him deep into the jungle.  As he attempts to put it together, perhaps he fumbles.  Sweat dripping into his eyes, maybe he drops the screwdriver once or twice.  Or maybe a much-needed screw falls to the ground and rolls under a … [Read more...]

Fourteen-Month Illustration of a Thirteen-Year Hiatus

A few weeks ago when I was leaving the Rome airport, the agent at passport control didn’t bother looking at my ticket.  He just slid it, along with my passport, back under the glass and asked, “Dove andiamo?  Andiamo in vacanza?”  Where are we going?  Are we going on vacation?  I tried not to but I think I sighed audibly, not at all keen on trying to fit the saga of how I’ve spent the last four months of my life living out of a suitcase into one, quick sentence.  If he had opened my passport … [Read more...]