Sun Ra: ‘I’m Everything and Nothing’

‘Sun Ra says, “the darkness. Nobody made that. It just happens. Light and all that—someone made that; it’s written that they did. But nobody made the darkness. My music is about dark tradition. Dark tradition means a lot more than black tradition.” On the other, Sun Ra named himself for the sun itself, that roiling source of a light that glows and splatters and bolts out of that universal darkness.”‘

Published: Jul 23, 2020
Length: 12 minutes (3,141 words)

When Will We Care About Domestic Violence?

The pandemic has sparked a surge in reports of domestic violence, and the U.N. has called for governments to “put women’s safety first.” But that has never happened in any country, crisis or not.

Published: May 11, 2020
Length: 16 minutes (4,192 words)

Other Voices, Other Rooms

Leslie Jamison reviews “Private Lives Public Spaces,” an exhibition of home movies and photography at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. What makes the exhibit fascinating is the thread of desire that runs through it — that keen human need to document our present as it all-too-quickly turns into our past.

Published: Apr 23, 2020
Length: 19 minutes (4,922 words)

Since I Became Symptomatic

A month after filing for divorce, single mom Leslie Jamison contracted COVID-19. She wrote this meditation on single parenthood, loneliness, longing, and frustration while sheltering in place — and sweating out the virus — with her 2-year-old daughter.

Published: Mar 26, 2020
Length: 6 minutes (1,500 words)

A Tale of Two Churches

Two pastors—one black, one white—unite their congregations in the heart of Trump country.

Published: Nov 20, 2019
Length: 28 minutes (7,000 words)

Lessons in Survival

“My grandmother was a refugee. She prized community over property. By cleaning the homes of white people — by dusting their bookshelves and scrubbing their toilets down on her knees — she was able to raise her three children in Michigan. They all lived well into old age. She ensured their survival by running. This required sacrifice, humility, strength, and faith. This is what Mabel knew, and she knew it from people like Harriet Tubman. When something is going to kill you, you run.”

Published: Nov 21, 2019
Length: 18 minutes (4,554 words)

Fascinated to Presume: In Defense of Fiction

As people accuse fiction of presumption, vanity, appropriation, and putting words in peoples’ mouths, one of our most brilliant writers shows us what fiction does best, which is compassionately imagining ourselves as other people, so we can understand who they, and human beings, truly are.

Published: Oct 17, 2019
Length: 24 minutes (6,137 words)

My Mother’s Daughter

In this personal essay, Molly Jong Fast considers her famous parents’ and grandparents’ tendencies toward infidelity, and how she is still affected, as an adult child.

Published: Feb 26, 2019
Length: 9 minutes (2,412 words)

Climate Signs

“For all the ferocity of my love, I’m powerless to protect my kids from the mass extinction we’re in the midst of that could eliminate 30–50 percent of all living species by the middle of the twenty-first century. Why is this not the core of the core curriculum? Why aren’t we all speaking about this?”

Published: Feb 1, 2019
Length: 49 minutes (12,293 words)

Rome: Where Migrants Face Eviction as Fascists Find a Home

Last November, Italy passed the “Salvini Decree,” a law that eliminated the right of migrants to seek “humanitarian protection.”

Published: Jan 28, 2019
Length: 16 minutes (4,184 words)