Author Archive

A Map of Florence

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I stand in the middle of a Plaza. A market is in front of me. To my left, down a narrow street, is a small restaurant, Mario’s, which serves lunch until it runs out of the day’s specials. If I walk to my right, I can make my way

A World of My Own

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When I was a kid, I would spend hours drawing maps of fictional towns. Sometimes, it would start with a river running down the page; other times, a mountain. Each street I added carried a name. Construction would continue over time: homes, schools, hospitals, even sport stadiums (Melville, home

A Walk Around the Lake

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“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” —Wallace Stevens I think about writing more than I actually write. I think about writing when I wake up in the morning, how I should dash to my computer and type up whatever thoughts I had just dreamed about

The Art of Wikipedia

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan, only fifty-four lines long, was never completed. The reason? According to Coleridge, he was interrupted by the Person from Porlock and subsequently lost his inspired creativity. “Though he still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision,” Coleridge

Social Media in a Literary World

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George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Although the Irish playwright wasn’t aware of social media at the time, one could argue that his observation is even more valid in a time where we think more and

The Infinite Library

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“I prefer to dream that the polished surfaces feign and promise infinity . . .” —Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel” You walk through the front doors of a building that resembles more a contemporary art museum than a repository of books. Instead of a librarian at a

Seeing Is Believing

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We had a sixteen-hour layover in Madrid en route to South Africa, and there were three things I wanted to do before we left: walk around the Plaza Mayor, eat jamón ibérico, and visit the Museo Reina Sofia. The first two were checked off fairly quickly, as we followed

140 Characters of Guilt

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Plate VI from Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. It took, it seemed, only a few seconds for the first response to appear. My heart plummeted as more appeared in my Twitter feed, each increasingly indignant, ticking off like a plunging stock exchange. I

The Modern Bookstore: An Interview with St. Mark’s BookShop Co-Owners Bob Contant and Terry McCoy

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I remember the first time I went to St. Mark’s Bookshop. I had just skipped out of an orientation session my first week of freshman year at NYU, and decided to explore the area by myself. It was the first time I was walking New York’s vibrant streets alone,

Everything Old is New Again?

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  It all started with a VHS copy of Black Christmas. Browsing through discarded copies of Steven Seagal/Jean-Claude Van Damme action trash and forgotten Gen X rom-coms shined a tattered cover with the tagline “If this movie doesn’t make your skin crawl … IT’S ON TOO TIGHT.” The box was a