Among Murderers: Life After Prison

University of California Press

And just like that, that was that. No sense of being at all, Angel wrote in the spidery script of a nine-year-old. He titled the new page in his diary Freedom Day, March 29th 2007. He was dazed by the abrupt shock of having dropped from one sphere into another in a matter of seconds. The course that had taken three decades to unfold had suddenly advanced with blinding speed: Attica’s prison gates closed behind him. Freedom.

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The Answer Is Never


The mainstream conversation is colored by if-arguments, eerily reminiscent of the 1950s, when women without children were pitied (and, possibly, pitied themselves). If I had found the right partner… If I had had enough money… If my childhood hadn’t been so bad… Whatever the reasons, they all suggest that something went wrong. I don’t have any if-arguments (which doesn’t mean that things don’t go wrong in my life). I simply never wanted to have children. Not when I was 20, not when I was 30 and not today.

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Billy Hayes

Swimming with Oliver Sacks

The Paris Review

Every morning a group of us, including Oliver, would swim across Eagle Lake. Our host, Harriet, insisted on accompanying us in her little metal boat. The motorboats that in recent years had taken over the tranquil lake could not be trusted; it would be easier for them to spot a little boat powered by a very tall and assertive woman than the school of little fish that we were. On land, Oliver’s body seemed old and frail, but in the water it was young again.

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Kathryn Kolb

King of Kudzu

Orion Magazine

King Kudzu sits next to his little house by the side of Route 441 surrounded by reindeer. There is kudzu everywhere. Kudzu stars, kudzu Christmas trees, kudzu angels. It is only late August, but already the King is getting ready for Christmas, the busiest season of the year. He is the creator, soaking and cutting and weaving and bending while occasionally glancing up at the sky. The early fog has risen, making space for the summer sun. In the face of such grandeur, how could you not believe in something bigger than yourself?

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