The Nice Thing About Strangers

Non-Fiction Short Stories. Travel, oldsters, love, moments worthy of pause. Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Have a Nice Trip

                    I stumbled over a dip in the sidewalk, tumbled over my own black boots in the peripheral glance of a … Continue reading

March 28, 2012 · 3 Comments

Mensch!

On the long day before a set of flights home to Colorado, I helped with a Halloween party in a private Austrian school. My favorite child, Phillip, with a perpetual … Continue reading

March 26, 2012 · 1 Comment

This Too

He had the feeling that everything he saw was a broken-off piece of some giant thing that he had forgotten had happened to him. -Flannery O’Connor. Wise Blood. (Photo from … Continue reading

March 24, 2012 · Leave a comment

Richard Gere Was Here

I sought a place to collapse and eat after a day of haplessly wandering Sarajevo map-less and on foot. The choice was made simple when I spotted a man standing … Continue reading

March 23, 2012 · 7 Comments

Next Stop

As usual, stops were not announced on the train. People familiar with the route rushed the hallways as we pulled into a station–or the last scraps of one. The train … Continue reading

March 21, 2012 · 2 Comments

There’s No Place Like The Last

Basically, like nine-tenths of humanity, I always wanted to be somewhere else, in the place I have just fled from. -Thomas Bernhard. Wittgenstein’s Nephew.

March 19, 2012 · Leave a comment

Not Helpless

I was trudging home from an English lesson with my astounding student, an asylum seeker and former child soldier from Sierra Leone who had the most remarkably shy smile. He … Continue reading

March 16, 2012 · 8 Comments

This is Grimm

The movies are onto the search, but they screw it up. The search always ends in despair. They like to show a fellow coming to himself in a strange place–but … Continue reading

March 14, 2012 · 2 Comments

You Can Read Over My Shoulder, But You Can’t Come Along

In the shuttle bus to the airplane, I break into scraps of conversational Turkish with a group of teenage boys from Kahramanmaraş. Even the boldest among them–a boy with smooth … Continue reading

March 12, 2012 · 11 Comments

Say Peynir!

From a spot in Gülhane park, one can keep a clear sight of the lines of people posing with the Atatürk statue. A bronze figure on a stone base, he … Continue reading

March 9, 2012 · 8 Comments

Scrawling On…

An author’s fondest dream is to turn the reader into a spectator. -Vladimir Nabokov. Despair.

March 8, 2012 · Leave a comment

Welcome Home

Long blonde ponytailed-twentysomething balances on her wedge shoes and tugs her jacket over her leggings and looks as angry as she had in our excessively hot airplane. She waites for … Continue reading

March 7, 2012 · 7 Comments

Why Read?

Nothing better protects a human being against the stupidity of prejudice, racism, religious or political sectarianism, and exclusivist nationalism than this truth that invariably appears in great literature: that men … Continue reading

March 6, 2012 · Leave a comment

En Route

It’s a travel back the the States day, a “get on the bus to the airport at 8:30 am Istanbul time and hope to catch the shuttle home at 9:30 … Continue reading

March 5, 2012 · Leave a comment

Hand-Holding, Skeletons, and Snacks

Whenever I remember that I have a skeleton, I get a wave of anxious queasiness. In science classrooms, I would cringe at the bleached construction of what allegedly resides under … Continue reading

March 2, 2012 · 2 Comments

Underline.

Read sparingly but ardently. That way you’ll look far more knowledgeable than those who read a great deal but enjoy nothing. -Orhan Pamuk. The Black Book. (One might even trade … Continue reading

March 1, 2012 · 2 Comments
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