Change is Good

People can change, growing past wrongful ways in the name of what's right. We pass new laws. We adopt new language. That's the recipe for progress: putting justice ahead of habit, principle over precedent. --Frank Bruni, Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times By now, unless you've been on another planet, a remote desert island with no … Continue reading Change is Good


The Body Female

This essay is a response to a post in the New York Times' Opinionater blog. It didn't take me more than the first two paragraphs of I Am Not This Body for me to feel both repelled by and compelled. Its title in the New York Times' Opinionator blog had intrigued me, and I clicked it … Continue reading The Body Female

Escaping Boston

I'm typing this in Schwarma Express, a Highland Park restaurant. There's a Toshiba flatscreen here, tuned to CNN. Joe the interviewee is saying, "There's a lot that people don't know." The news anchor is trying to pull more details out of Joe. And that's really his name. Joe is bald, black, and wearing a pinstripe … Continue reading Escaping Boston

Filling the Silence

It's a common occurrence that when people know you're a writer, you get asked to write speeches or messages in greeting cards on behalf of everyone else. They assume that because you craft prose for fun (or for a living, if you're lucky), you will always have the right words for the occasion. Sometimes, there … Continue reading Filling the Silence

Husband and Wife

The Associated Press recently sent an update to subscribers of its style guide, with the following entry: husband, wife Regardless of sexual orientation, husband or wife is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage. Spouse or partner may be used if requested. AP is a news organization, and its style guide, … Continue reading Husband and Wife

Love, Li Na

On Saturday night, I watched an incredibly exciting tennis final. To the itinerant story-chaser in me, it was an absolutely thrilling narrative. If you've been following the Australian Open, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about--if not, let me explain. Victoria Azarenka, the world number 1 in women’s tennis, was up against Li Na, the … Continue reading Love, Li Na

Censoring Cigarettes

"Did you hear what happened in America?" I asked. "No," Eunha replied. She's a fourteen year old, exceptionally brilliant girl whose fluency in English can largely be attributed to her time spent in India. "What happened?" I didn't want to tell her about the violence at Sandy Hook Elementary, so I told her, "Don't worry … Continue reading Censoring Cigarettes

Ask Ceil – Let Groundhogs Entertain You!

Dear Ceil, Why Groundhog Day? Why?! Pestered in Petersberg Dear Pestered, I concur. Just take a look at them. They have no right to their own holiday. Groundhogs are evil beasts of carnage. They have huge top and bottom teeth that never stop growing. To keep them short, they are biologically driven to gnaw on … Continue reading Ask Ceil – Let Groundhogs Entertain You!

Ask Ceil – A Failure to Communicate

Dear Ceil, I was thinking of commenting on an internet article, and then I read the other commenters. So I stopped. Should I have? Opining in Oregon Dear Opining, I see that you have observed the conundrum of unfettered free speech. Apparently, people feel free to say things. You see, they realize they'll never meet … Continue reading Ask Ceil – A Failure to Communicate

Broken Windows

Yesterday afternoon, I was riding back into town after running an errand in New Brunswick. I had my laptop and a folder of freshly-printed CD covers in my backpack. I pulled over to the side of road not once but several times, to look at the facades of the stores and restaurants I'd read about. … Continue reading Broken Windows