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By Way of an Introduction

I’ve always preferred paper – I probably always will. For twenty years now I’ve written physical books, published essays in physical magazines and contributed occasional op-eds to physical newspapers. For fifteen years I contributed stories and essays to Harper’s Magazine, a publication I still admire.

Times change. Needs change. Age exerts certain pressures. I find that there are things I want to say in these turbulent times – or at least think aloud about – that don’t fit the available formats. I don’t want to sit on my writerly ass for two months to be told by some magazine editor that my proposal, while interesting, doesn’t quite fit “our current needs.” So, while I’ll continue to write books (some projects demand patience and time, and I need to eat), I’m going to try my hand at something new. This.

Writers earn their place at the table, I’ve always believed, by standing outside the mainstream and saying what they see. And so, being a writer, I intend to continue doing just that.

One more thing. While the weather’s good, I write in a one-room shack without electricity. I watch hawks hunt in the understory. Every now and then a deer looks through the window screen and scares the hell out of me. I like this place - its silence, its apartness; if someone wants to talk to me they have to pick up their physical body and walk through the woods and step over the fallen elm and talk to me. In October I begin adding thermals, wool socks, winter hat, fingerless gloves. Eventually, having drunk all the hot soup and done all the jumping jacks one man can reasonably drink and do, I cave, grudgingly.

The shack, while it lasts, offers a good vantage point on our times. Hence the title I’ve chosen for this series of . . . whatever these are, precisely. Short essays, speculations, musings. Considerations and reconsiderations. Admirations and outrages and gripes.

I expect to write one every two weeks for as long as my energy and interest hold. Two weeks feels about right; I’m a slow writer, and I like to think about what I say. It may take me a while to hit my stride.

What will these ‘posts’ be about? I’m guessing they’ll be about how we are now; that is, about politics and current events, education and technology and anything else that crosses my path and seems interesting enough to write about. They’ll be political in the broadest sense of the word because our politics constitute the sum of our beliefs, and though I try to question what I believe, I find it impossible to write without bringing myself to the page.

If you want answers, you probably won’t find them here. What you may find are questions worth asking, which are the next best thing. I don’t expect people to agree with me, though I have nothing against it if they do.

I can’t promise to be right, only to tell the truth as I see it. I’ll be flat-out wrong occasionally - of this I have no doubt; now and then, I hope to be right as well.

I can only promise one thing: to interest and trouble you, occasionally, as I hope to interest and trouble myself.

Lost Lake, 2015

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