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The Truth Will Set You Free

Image shows bare winter trees in Forest Park, Queens, against the sky at dusk.

I don’t ordinarily link to my newsletters here nowadays, but I’m making an exception for the latest, “The Truth Will Set You Free.” It’s about how wrestling with wrongs of my ancestors, rather than being a miserly, judgmental, closed-off process, has been an incredible opening. I’m also giving away an advance copy of Ancestor Trouble. And there are some good links and recommendations, if you’re in the market, and an excerpt from an interview my friend Carolyn Kellogg was kind enough to do with me about the book.

The photo above is of Forest Park, on Lenape land in Queens, New York. I wrote for Curbed about what I learned about the loopholes in New York City’s “Forever Wild” protections after my Assemblywoman issued a proposal to transform what she called “vacant park space” on the edge of this park into a parking lot.

I’m also grateful, excited, and frankly astounded to see Ancestor Trouble included on more most-anticipated lists from Oprah DailyEsquireBook PageLiterary Hub, and The Millions



Remembering Terry Teachout

My friend Terry Teachout, a theater and arts critic, a biographer, playwright, and librettist in his own right, first known to me as a blogger, died suddenly last week. I’ve struggled to express what what a shock and loss his absence is. Terry loved to laugh and was a delight to laugh with. He loathed pretension. He enjoyed wit. When . . .

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Writing a Nonfiction Book First

This year I abandoned the novel I worked on for ages. Fragments survive in the novel I’m working on now, but it’s a fundamentally different book, and that feels great. For years, I resisted writing a nonfiction book first, because I really didn’t want to write a memoir. But it turned out that (1) I really did need, as several . . .

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Brevity, Earnest Back-and-Forth

I don’t idealize the blog era, but I do miss a few things about it. One is the inherent flexibility of the form. A blog allows for brevity (merciful brevity). When no extra words are needed, there’s no mandate to stretch an idea to fill a slot. On the other hand, if someone needs to say 10,000 words on a . . .

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