What is the use of nostalgia, this yearning over the vanished past, this clinging to what is gone and will not come again? On Mother’s Day, I stood over…
My theme this week is “possession,” which may strike some readers as off the beaten path. But it is actually as timely as the day’s headlines—pretty…
Here there be dragons. According to a common piece of folklore, that inscription appears at the margins of maps in the olden days. What it really…
A few days ago, a former student, an English major just graduated in December, wrote to me asking a question I am repeatedly asked, and for 33 years…
Last week I raised the issue of the frequent, sometimes intense disapproval of popular storytelling in our time: of the “category fiction” that sells…
Last week, at a concert, an amiable parking lot attendant thanked us for being more pleasant to deal with than his previous customer. He offered no…
This newsletter will appear on Christmas Eve Day, so of course it’s going to be about Christmas, despite the obviousness of the choice. In fact, I’m…
Suddenly, it is October. How is that possible? Summer is always gone too soon for me. But here we are in the week of the birthday, on October 27, of the…
We seem to be witnessing a reluctant acknowledgment of inwardness. In 2012, Susan Cain revived the debate over introversion and extraversion with her…
Revenge may seem an odd choice of topic for a newsletter on imagination. What does revenge have to do with the imagination? But the answer is…
In the previous newsletter, I quoted the great fantasist Ursula Le Guin’s disparaging remarks about what is commonly called formula fiction or category…
Last week, I wrote about the role that chance plays in our lives, for better or worse. Chance obligingly proceeded to provide me with examples. A writer…