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April 11, 2017

The terror attacks of September 11, 2001 sent shockwaves of ugly consequences into the world. Some of those consequences were intended, immediate, and grave—things such as the death of many innocent people and the fear and political unrest that settled over our great nation and over much of the rest of the world—but there have also been other more peripheral and far-removed instances of fallout from that fateful day, things that few people would have imagined a...

January 18, 2017

As the world around me enjoyed a pleasant Saturday afternoon, I sat on my bed trembling, wondering if I was dying or going insane. While other people sipped lattes at coffee shops and ran casual errands or watched movies or college football, I fought to keep a faint grip on some sense of normalcy and well-being. I was 35-years-old and I felt utterly alone, as if I were some unfortunate astronaut whose tether to the mothership had been tragically severed while h...

December 10, 2016

Have you had your midlife crisis yet? Mine came a little early by some definitions.

Some acute awareness of mortality infiltrated me in my thirties; it was an awareness not just of my own human frailty, but of the eventual death of everything. The expiring of every second and then minute; the realization that everything is meaningless because it is fading, and the simultaneous compulsion to get busy trying to accomplish something precisely because time is runnin...

November 15, 2016

I awoke to a heavy circle of pain pressing down over my heart. The day seemed pale and gloomy in a way that was out of line for even the most overcast of winter mornings in Wisconsin. My house was full of family—brothers, in-laws, and a new nephew—but I felt alone, and that strange feeling of isolation swirled around the day’s first moments like an ominous wind.

“Good morning,” my youngest brother said in a singsong voice as he lowered my baby nephew close to my...

October 25, 2016

The bed was soaked yet again, the sheets saturated with a pungent, urgent sweat caused by nightmares and the prescription toxins that were trying to leave my body. Once again the few restless moments of sleep I was able to “enjoy” were interrupted by the nightly ritual of my wife turning on the lights and stripping the bed so that we could lie on a surface that didn’t feel as if Patrick Ewing had just used it as his postgame massage table.

It was still dark outs...

September 14, 2016

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. It’s undeniably corporeal, and it always has been for me. In addition to being the season of my birth—or perhaps because of it—it is a particularly affecting journey through eloquent changes in nature that cut straight to my soul. If summer can be seen as a hot fling—a somewhat lusty and mindless dash to touch every bit of pleasure that winter denied us—then autumn is a welcome return back to a life that truly means somet...