Selected and recent features, essays, and interviews.
What Would Rachel Carson Think? Inside Climate News
In “Silent Spring,” Rachel Carson described a fictional, bucolic hamlet, much like her hometown. Now, there’s a plastics plant under construction 30 miles away. A version of this piece was also published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In Deep Adaptation’s Focus on Collapse, a Hopeful Call to Action, Inside Climate News
British academic Jem Bendell’s paper is a “Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy.” But many of its proponents embrace its precepts out of a “deep love for this planet.”
Civil Discourse Exists in This Small Corner of the Internet, The Atlantic
The subreddit Change My View is built on the proposition that we’ve at least got to listen to people we disagree with.
How Politics in Trump’s America Divides Families, The Atlantic
A progressive family in suburban Philadelphia refused to take down a “Black Lives Matter” sign when conservative relatives came to visit.
The Evolution of John Fetterman, Inside Climate News
Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, now running for U.S. Senate, supported carbon caps when he was mayor of Braddock and a fracking moratorium during his unsuccessful 2016 Senate campaign. Now, Fetterman balances the “existential threat” of climate change with a need for “energy security.” This piece was also published in State Impact Pennsylvania.
Dismantle the Platform, The Believer
What makes institutional protest successful, or not?
Whose Voices Get Heard in the Writing Workshop? Catapult
The pressures and perils of speaking up in class.
We Should All Be More Like the Nuns of 1918, The New York Times
The sisters of Philadelphia were lifesavers during the Spanish flu epidemic. They are an inspiration today.
Mt. Joy, Los Angeles Review of Books
On what it means to seek out joy in a time of great fear.
Whose Boots on the Ground, Longreads
We invest a great deal of collective energy in commemorating our war dead. But do we remember them?
The Occupation of a Woman Writer, Longreads
Our inherited biases about who should write what live deeper than most of us realize or want to acknowledge.
How Learning to Draw Can Help a Writer to See, Literary Hub
A talented painter suggests movement and feeling with a slicing flick of the brush. So too can a skilled writer conjure a singular image or voice.
How I Lost God, Medium
I went to mass and Sunday school for 10 years at my mom’s insistence, but her nighttime prayers dueled with my dad’s words about the Church’s black past.
One Hundred Miles From Here, The New York Times
My dad has taught me many things: How to bend my left hand into the shape of a guitar chord; how to whistle with a blade of grass pressed between my thumbs; how to fine-tune a sentence until it sings.
Emily Doe and the Ghost of Lucretia, The Rumpus
The news cycle has forgotten Emily Doe, although she is still waking up with a weight on her back that was not there before.
Tell Me About My Boy, Consequence
Here’s an empty grave, where a body that had been a boy became bones beneath a wooden cross.
My Grandmother’s Pie Plate, River Teeth
I’m the one filling it now, and I’ve never minded sugar under my fingernails less. Its surface is dark with shine; it’s been swallowing butter and heat for two lifetimes at least.
A Young Private, Killed in World War II, Still Leaps Off the Page, The New York Times
Private Richard Halvey scribbled his last letter home in the passenger seat of an Army radio vehicle rumbling somewhere through North Africa in February 1943.
An Interview with Tiya Miles
Unraveling the secrets of “Ashley’s sack,” a material record of the history of slavery.
An Interview with Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley
What the history of quarantine can teach us about confronting fear, risk, and uncertainty.
An Interview with Emily Midorikawa
Six spiritualist women emerge from the shadows of the past.
An Interview with Brian Castner
The mythology and madness of the Klondike Gold Rush.