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The Art of Half-Hearted Hobbying

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson A good friend of mine has a theory about the fundamental difference between poets and fiction writers: Poets have hobbies and fiction writers don’t. He happens to be a fiction writer and of course has no hobbies. As further evidence, he names another friend,

Secret Agents

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson Five or six years ago, when I was living alone after a difficult break-up, I had a lot of time on my hands and filled it in part by following the news religiously, reading a dozen websites and blogs every morning before sitting down

Meeting New Orleans

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Guest post by Carol Keeley We land and see palm trees, which baffles me. It’s my first trip to New Orleans. For some reason, I hadn’t pictured palm trees. Immediately, we see houses scarred with post-Katrina markings–the number of bodies, stranded pets, when it was searched. Some are the

Seeking Asylum

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson I live less than a mile from the Oregon State Hospital, which for many years was known as the Oregon State Insane Asylum. There aren’t many internationally famous landmarks in this sleepy capital city, but film buffs all over the world know it as

Dreaming of Freedom and Horse Thieves

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson My ancestors emigrated from Sweden to Minsk sometime in the eighteenth century, most likely to escape restrictive anti-Jewish property laws. But there’s a legend in my family that accounts for the move differently. According to the story, which is usually told with a smirk

They Used to Burn Us

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Guest post by Carol Keeley When Lisa told me, joyfully, that they’d decided to have the baby at home with a midwife, I took a breath before chorusing support. Because I love her, I resisted blurting my worries. “But you’re forty-one and this is your first baby. Are you

Like Fire on My Skin

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson The first time I saw Be Here to Love Me, the documentary about songwriter Townes Van Zandt, I was in rough shape. This was in 2005. I’d recently gone through a devastating break-up, which left me reeling and broke, living in an attic apartment

A Writer’s Envy, Part VI: Coda–Orpheus on TV

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Guest post by Scott Nadelson By now it’s probably obvious that when I’m talking about envy, I’m really talking about influence. I want to learn from the visual artists I admire so much. I want to seek our common ground, to discover what we share, to strive toward what

Eddie Johnson’s Indian Summer

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Guest post by Carol Keeley Chicago has lost another tenor sax great. Eddie Johnson was eighty-nine. He played up until 2004, when his sweet swinging horn gave way to emphysema. Like many Chicago jazzicians, Eddie chose family over the perils of road life and fame. He had an offer to

The Greensboro Five

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Guest post by Carol Keeley Among the iconic civil rights heroes in a recent Platon portfolio in The New Yorker were the Greensboro Four. The image of these young men at a whites-only counter in Woolworth’s ignited a movement and is part of our national conscience. But this shot