The Episcopal School of Knoxville will turn 20 this coming fall, inconceivably. My 20-something kid was a kindergartner in its inaugural year, 1998. This matters to me mainly because it’s a school my ex and I founded, together with a few other families, the culmination of a mammoth effort that was about five or so … Continue reading Writing Story: A School Is a Place to Learn
/ˌSHto͝orm o͝on(d) ˈdraNG/ noun – turbulent emotion or stress. In the eastern suburbs of Memphis, Tennessee, you can tell a tornado’s coming—or at the very least a horrific storm—long before the civil defense sirens sound. The wind picks up red soil from rice farmers’ fields over in West Memphis, Arkansas, near the western shores of … Continue reading Mom Is Human: a Memphis Memory
The woman standing at the front of the classroom never suffers fools gladly. Instead she writes theorems on the green chalkboard rapidly, with her back turned to a roomful of privileged ninth grade girls at this pressure cooker prep school in Memphis, girls poised for success in one venue or another. She is lean, a … Continue reading The Boldness of Eccentricity: A Remembrance
It just doesn’t always heart me back. The man rapping his knuckles against my car window had no teeth. He wore unbuttoned flannel over a filthy shirt and baggy trousers, which were held aloft over his pot belly by a pair of suspenders; his scruffy beard betrayed a recent snack. It was broad daylight in … Continue reading Home is where Your Heart Is: I Heart Vermont, Kinda
Prologue I wish I could rewind a particular winter night about a dozen years ago at the Kennedy Center. I wish I could find all the people who were sitting in the right section of the orchestra at the opera house there, people who thought they were about to enjoy a memorable performance of Swan Lake, and tell … Continue reading Swan Lake, You Rock My World.
In Memphis and other parts of the South and Midwest powerful storms are inseparable from the spring and summer landscape. Once upon a time civil defense sirens meant a tornado, prompting the requisite sequestration of our family in a tiny downstairs bathroom under piles of pillows. By age six or so I learned to fear any old thunderstorm that … Continue reading Forgotten Books, Forever Friends, & Harper Lee
Robbins was more immediately successful than Balanchine, but the two together...when I think that we had them both! What a combination! We were incredibly lucky. —Violette Verdy In fall of 1969 Memphis Ballet School and its company had not long occupied the second floor of a mainly spent Depression-era building at the at the corner of … Continue reading Dancing in the Company of Giants
The Rum Tum Tugger is a terrible bore: When you let him in, then he wants to be out; He's always on the wrong side of every door, And as soon as he's at home, then he'd like to get about.—T.S. Eliot The oppressive heat of high summer in Memphis, Tennessee reaches its fingers across … Continue reading The Wrong Side of Every Door: Finding Paradise