Month: January 2016

01.30.16 ward


In case you were curious, this is what a bed in an organ transplant ward looks like. From the perspective of a postoperative patient not allowed to sit up (or move at all) for 6 hours.

I invite you to use your imagination to fill in the details about the routines, the smells, the people dying in the beds on either side.

The nurses, orderlies, patients, family members, and even (most of) the doctors were amongst the kindest people I have ever met in my life. The quality of the care I received was extraordinary.

The suffering is beyond description, and the compassion on display is beyond imagining.

This experience has been illuminating, humbling, a correction. All of my concerns and interests seem trivial, compared to what is happening every day on the transplant ward. I wish my fellow travelers on the ward a safe journey.

I really do not want to come back here.


01.29.16 biopsy


Live update from my biopsy. They won’t let me keep the core sample! But they did let me take pictures.


01.23.16 catapult


Nice words from Yuka Igarashi at Catapult about my essays.

You can read them here:

Modern Love

Space Oddity

Ashes to Ashes


01.22.16 columbia


Detail of Videbimus Lumen by Eugene Savage, 1934.

Butler Library, Columbia University.


01.17.16 mail



01.14.16 ashes


Mary with her father, Bee, and Christopher, 1971.

Years have passed but I think about Mary every day. I hear her voice and I’m still arguing with her, in my mind and in my actions. Everything I’ve done, everywhere I’ve been, every critical choice I have made in life has been a repudiation of her choices. But without her, what am I? The depth of her addiction is reflected in the severity of my decisions, and how far I moved away from our home. 

Read more at Catapult: 

Ashes to Ashes


01.10.16 honor


We’ve been married twenty years!

The party featured hundreds of people from every aspect of our lives, dancing until dawn. We were surprised and amazed at the turnout, and the outpouring of good wishes.

It is an honor and a privilege to know you all.


01.09.16 guestbook


Some of the notes from the guest book.


01.09.16 medal


Medal celebrating twenty years of union (from Leslie Riibe).


01.09.16 gossip


Leslie sent this memory from the archives – a letter from Karen about the elopement.