Category Archives: Essays

Man at the Fire

We shared a birthday, my father and I, July twenty-fifth (1933 and 1959 respectively), and often celebrated with a trip to the Oregon coast. Just the two of us. We’d drive out from Portland on a Friday evening after dad … Continue reading

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The Invisible Salman Rushdie

One could argue the death threat Salman Rushdie received from Ayatollah Khomeini for writing The Satanic Verses ranks among the worst rejections in literary history. Fueled by Khomeini’s fatwa, or edict, Rushdie’s enemies not only banned and burned his book, … Continue reading

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Ninety-six Hours in Toronto, June 2003

I keep travel notebooks, always have—writing more in three or four days than I write in six months at home. Being in motion lights me up. I have notebooks for Hong Kong, New Orleans, Vancouver BC, Mexico City, San Francisco, Taipei, … Continue reading

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Back to the Middle of It

My son Colin has made such incredible progress in recent years. He’s in fifth grade, singing in a choir, playing piano, riding around on roller blades, speaking and singing in church, filling up journals with poems and songs, drawing, dancing, … Continue reading

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Running Band of Brothers

In high school I ran cross country and fell in among true friends. At the core was a half dozen of us who started together in ninth grade and were still running on the varsity team our senior year. We … Continue reading

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Nickle Lauritzen and the Afterlife

In 1990, my friend Nickle Lauritzen was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease, a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, similar to Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a terminal disease that works inward from the extremities—first the hands, then feet, legs, and arms—muscle strength … Continue reading

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I admit to being in denial about autism as an epidemic, in spite of the tsunami of loud voices to the contrary— including expert-authored analyses in medical journals, countless magazine and newspaper articles, documentary films, TV specials, and memoirs. “Autism … Continue reading

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We Have Become Travelers

In 2019, when my brother-in-law, John, died in a freak accident, I couldn’t push the accident out of my mind for more than a few hours at a time. Six, even eight months later, I still read and reread the police reports, traffic citations, … Continue reading

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The Dead-end of Blame

I made a decision and I know that was how it had to be, and I did not blame anyone.                                               —Czeslaw Milosz, “Yokimura” I. In the first years after our son’s diagnosis, we attend only one autism conference. We’re … Continue reading

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The Music of the Spheres

Colin, our son with autism, fell into crisis at his brother’s birth—throwing more tantrums than ever, waking up at night, ignoring the usual comforts from us, and even refusing to eat. Such scenarios are common enough for children when new … Continue reading

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