The Advanced Genius Theory


  On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s first album, I would like to introduce you to the only concept that can adequately explain the arc of his career since the release of that record: Advancement. “Advancement”, [...]

James Dickey


Before I read Deliverance or saw the movie, I heard James Dickey read from his novel at USC’s Longstreet Theater. Jerry Savory of Columbia College was giving me a lift to the bus station, now an art deco bank. “Dickey [...]

Kambujan Eulogy

Cambodia, 1980 Above the graves at Tonle Sap pagodas crumble and blend into earth. Water drips from the bronze genie of the sky. Four faces stare from the shadows: eight arms, each one holding carved moons, birds, children. A chipped [...]

Despite Gravity

They come from France, Sweden, Mexico and Maine. Designers and engineers cradling blueprints and calculations in their arms; ironworkers wearing hard hats and steel-toed boots, sledgehammers grasped in the grip of their gloved hands. With scars and sweat drying on [...]

The Rapture

The 1992 Nissan Sentra sat idling at the stoplight, a slight knocking sound coming from beneath the hood. The windows were rolled down, and an undersized spare tire was attached to the left rear wheel, making the car sag a [...]

Samson and Meliza

Without heat pump, air-conditioner or swamp-cooler, Meliza Humbert Baker’s house was comfortable even in the summer. The surrounding trees cooled the breezes and the cement slab radiated a coolness Meliza could feel inside her thin feet-bones when she stood still. [...]


At thirty-five, Mary Beth looked younger than she was by about seven years, the same number of years as the age of her son, Ben, now in second grade at Lincoln Elementary School.  When Ben was younger, when Mary Beth [...]

Ways to Skin a Cat – by Kat Coffee

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re wondering why anyone should bother to skin a cat at all – troubling to select a method from the rumored myriad at our disposal – when there are so many dogs in the world [...]

Café Americano

She reads an article on Zimbabwe’s drought and famine, including personal stories like the farmer’s: he walks two miles to get the sack of corn rationed by the U.N. for his family- the corn, meant to last a month, lasts [...]

Lincoln’s Head

“Remember the color red,” she said. “When you see the Pyramids, remind yourself that they were once covered with earthy communist ochre. When you hear about Dorian columns and pantheons of human-formed gods, recognize that they were originally vermilion. Read [...]