On Raymond Thompson’s “Appalachian Ghost”

Thompson captured photos of the place — the hills of WVA folding into each other like origami, holding mist and dew in the hollows. And he staged new photos which conjure these working men, bearing up under hours of physical labor, covered in white dust, looking otherworldly but also fully human and integral to the achievement.

2024-06-20T17:12:34-04:00June 20, 2024|

Garbage Boy

John was unbelievable with a trash bag. He threw the lighter ones from his hip, like an uppercut. The heavier bags were more like a hammer throw. You could tell he was accustomed to using, and needing to use, all the muscle he had left.

2024-06-20T09:59:05-04:00June 17, 2024|

May Day is a Rust Belt Holiday

May Day isn’t just an estimably American holiday, it’s a particularly Rust Belt holiday, forged in the cauldron of Chicago’s streets and factories, born from the experience of workers in the mills and plants of Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.

2024-05-06T11:00:54-04:00April 29, 2024|

Pittsburgh Was Better Than NYC

Would a return to my hometown after 20 years in and around New York prove the perfect move for a mom determined to say “yes” and kindle community? Here’s how it went for me.

2024-05-02T10:41:33-04:00April 25, 2024|

Colleen Moore’s Fairy Tale Castle of Chicago

Moore used her fairies and their castle to stitch up an alarmingly tattered social contract, providing an occasion for people of all ages, races, classes and backgrounds to look together at an astonishing object and to contemplate how collaboratively through the pooling of their individual contributions, they could move proverbial mountains.

2024-04-22T10:11:10-04:00April 15, 2024|

Damned in Ohio

My immediate family was irreligious. My grandparents were raised in contradictory faiths, and their first grandchild was the singular blessing, the lone scandal, that could unite them in disbelief.

2023-12-27T12:12:51-05:00December 15, 2023|
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