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May Day is a Rust Belt Holiday

By |April 29, 2024|Essays|

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.

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Pittsburgh Was Better Than NYC

By |April 25, 2024|Essays, Pittsburgh|

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.

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Colleen Moore’s Fairy Tale Castle of Chicago

By |April 15, 2024|Chicago, Essays|

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.

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Confessions of a Radioactive Man

By |April 1, 2024|Essays|

I wanted to travel to Bridgeton, Missouri’s West Lake Landfill to see the kind of radioactive waste dumped there, a journalistic urge to see things firsthand.

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Damned in Ohio

By |December 15, 2023|Essays|

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.

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The Mennonite Verse of Julia Spicher Kasdorf

By |November 28, 2023|Essays|

“Mennonites have not been in the habit of changing details to suit the story: from our very first confessions of faith we've expected language to be a useful, solid bucket to hold truths as clear as water.”

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