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Author: Michael

Novelist, Essayist, (Recovering) Journalist

Death and the Maiden

I don’t remember when I first discovered Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14.”Death and the Maiden” was Schubert’s testament to the process of dying. He had fallen ill, apparently, and he wrote #14. If you’ve never heard it, you can listen to it here. It’s a remarkable piece of music, if only because the tumultuous Allegro…
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Five Goals

Or: A workaholic’s guide to avoiding going to meetings   For Dee Wallace* I have a working theory: Workaholics Anonymous doesn’t exist because you could never get a workaholic to go to a meeting that wasn’t attached to a budget line or a task in their project management suite. (I use basecamp at my day…
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Capturing the Mood of a Moody People

Or: After 10 years, “Untitled” has a name   I don’t remember how long it was after 9/11 that I first I saw Richard Drew’s “Falling Man,” the stark, frightening image of a single individual plummeting down the face of the World Trade Center. What I do remember is how remarkably this one image captured…
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Godspeed, Captain Apollo

The first time I spoke to Richard Hatch, he was moderating a press junket at the Hilton Americas hotel in Houston as one of the headliners of Galacticon 3. For more than thirty years, Richard had been the standard bearer for the Battlestar Galactica universe, and more than a few press write-ups gave him credit for…
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Our People’s Princess

I was seven years old the first time I saw a movie without adult supervision. Lee Inabnet dropped her son, Byron, and me off at the Cinema III on Louisville Avenue in Monroe. To this day, I remember almost every single moment of that experience, from the smells of the popcorn and butter to the feel of…
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Butterfly Leaves

Or: On the joys of having four distinct seasons   Growing up in Louisiana, I never experienced the slow march of the seasons. In Louisiana, there’s Summer, and then there are about two months of this slightly less warm, wet thing called Winter, during which once every two or three years we experience a good…
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Red State Blue State, the State, Our State

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been accused of being a Clintonista leftist and a Trump-loving hatemonger, of being a sexist and a racist and of basking in my white privilege, of being a bleeding heart social justice crusader and wallowing in my victimhood. I’ve been told “that’s why you voted for Trump!” for…
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Brutalist Birthing Center

Or: How I learned to stop looking to live with reusable project pieces For a time, my daughter issued an edict: I could no longer say “mid-century modern” or any permutation thereof, including but not limited to MidCentury, MCM, or the diminutive “mid-mod.” She had grown tired of hearing me gush about this warehouse find or that…
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Mojo Binders

Or: Fetish and the Art of Writing I remember reading, where I don’t know, that Hemingway used pencils to write in his notebooks. It must have been in A Moveable Feast, because I remember it was in his own voice, so strong, authoritative, and direct. The comment was almost a throwaway, the kind of detail a writer…
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The Apple Tree and the Gazebo

An Allegory So this farmer has a section of low-lying land that is perpetually flooded with water, land that came as part of his family’s original grant more than a century ago. Right in the middle of it, miles away from anything, is a hill that rises up above the swamp. Getting to the hill requires mucking…
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