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Weapons In The War For Human Kindness

Why David Budbill Sits On A Mountaintop And Writes Poems

I remember my sign said: NO NUCLEAR TESTING. END POVERTY, HUNGER, AND DISEASE. I mean, if you’re going to get together for a weekend to stop atmospheric nuclear testing, you might as well end poverty, hunger, and disease, too, right?

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Red Eggs

I am eleven, not quite a little girl, not quite a young woman. There are things I know that I should not know, things of which I am not to speak, such as: I am not supposed to know that my father is a checkout clerk, not the grocery-store manager. I am not supposed to know the dolls I play with are stolen. I am not supposed to know my parents have gambled away the second mortgage on the house instead of investing it in a new toilet, a shower with working doors, dual-pane windows, and a new roof. I am supposed to be a china doll, silent and submissive, an example to my sisters: Cynthia, eight, and Elizabeth, six.

God Is Not Dead, He’s Busy Making Sure Nicole Kidman Wins Another Oscar

I was walking on the ice. Let me say up front that I am not a foolish woman, that the ice was thick and I was dressed warmly. Let me add that, though I do drink too much on occasion, I wasn’t drinking that morning. I’d just had one teeny-tiny hit of good pot. That was all. Shortly after I smoked, though, I’d had a revelation that I thought might be from God. It told me that one way to shake myself out of my depression and lethargy was to get to know the Connecticut River, on which I lived.

Clinic

I thought the place looked familiar, but I wasn’t sure. I put down my plate of eggs, grabbed the TV remote, and turned up the sound. It was an abortion-clinic bombing: one bomb to lure the law, a second bomb to blow them up. I finished my eggs and got ready for a long day of hype and second-guessing and yellow tape. I’d been a TV reporter for fifteen years, and I’d grown to hate big stories: the competing pack of journalists, the producer’s threats, the pressure to learn something that no one else knew, anything.

Fiction

Fallout

I used to be an expert on the atom bomb in the late fifties, thanks to Junior Scholastic magazine. Everyone in Mrs. Thompson’s fifth-grade class subscribed. We had to. The American Legion paid for the poor kids’ subscriptions so we could all be guardians of freedom, equally informed and watchful. The first line of defense in the Cold War, Mrs. Thompson reminded us, was information. So when our Junior Scholastics arrived, we put aside our other lessons. The theme for May was “Nuclear War and You,” with recipes for Atomic Cookies and a joke column titled “It’s a Blast!” Mrs. Thompson made Ronnie, our slow kid, read the first joke:

My Brother The Superhero

At dinner, Brandon — my son, your nephew — tells us how, on the kickball diamond today, he was called a pussy by Arthur, the decidedly overweight bully (as all second-grade bullies tend to be, complete with requisite learning disability). Since September, Arthur has developed an unfortunate interest in Brandon.

Readers Write

Deception

In the spring of my seventh-grade year, I came down with a resilient but otherwise unremarkable case of bronchitis. One night I was having trouble breathing, and my mother took me into her bathroom and turned on the shower as hot as it would go. Standing in that foggy bathroom, inhaling big lungfuls of steam, I got a crazy idea: I would stop breathing.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

March 2004

I’m tired this morning after having stayed up too late last night. Apparently I still haven’t learned how to tell time. If the little hand is on the 11 or 12, and the big hand is reaching for the remote or something to eat, does this mean I have all the time in the world? Desire seems to think so. In the corridors of power where I try to govern myself, Desire is a lobbyist with a lot of clout. When the environmentalists argue for a good night’s sleep, Desire yawns. She’s heard it all before. 

Musings From Our Founder ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

[The philosopher] Wittgenstein writes about a man who, not being certain of an item he reads in the newspaper, buys one hundred copies of the paper to reassure himself of its truth.

Richard Kehl

More Quotations ▸
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