Truman Capote is best known for In Cold Blood, the chilling account of a Kansas farm family’s 1959 murder that birthed a new form of journalism. But at this time of year, he is remembered for A Christmas Memory, a short story that recalls his little-boy life with a distant cousin, a woman in her sixties with […]


He said it would hurt like hell, and he was right. I knew when I recognized my own voice that those clichéd descriptions of people yelping in the dentist’s chair are based in reality.  Beyond the instruments in my mouth and the hands wielding them, I could see my legs and feet in agitated motion, […]

I’ve been feeling an enhanced sense of purpose lately, as if my little life is part of some grand experiment.  Then I encountered a journal article that explained why:  Evidence is mounting that squirrels all over the world — not just my squirrel, Chloe — are systematically training humans to provide them with their favorite […]

I was all set to write my Thanksgiving post, but writing anything has been nearly impossible since this happened: I have fostered kittens before, successfully if that means getting them safely reared and placed in good homes, unsuccessfully if that means one of those homes should not be mine, which it was and which 9 […]

For the past few decades, I have behaved ungraciously toward Sally Field, though I know this must hurt her deeply.  Part of it — I admit — is her near-pathological perkiness, the cheery combustibility of the ever-smiling small woman.   Makes you wonder, you know:  Just what is she up to? But if I’m honest, […]

Her last moment in breathable air might have been a shudder, or a howl.  A bearing down, a thrusting up. The snow driven like bullets by fierce wind, the fresh and frigid water ripped and roiled into 30-foot waves and worse, especially the last two: Monsters. Rogues. And then the great arc of tension — […]

A couple weeks ago, I got one of those phone calls you don’t want to get, the ones that — this you realize later — divide time into before and after. What?” I said.  “What?”  Uncomprehending.  Because Mike was a runner — perhaps the best known runner in this large and lively running community — […]