Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology

Coming in August from Belt Publishing …. it’s a book, edited by me. A book about Chicago and how it relates to the Rust Belt, and doesn’t. Inside are essays, personal narratives, journalism, fiction, and poetry from 52 contributors. On the outside is this beautiful piece of art, created by Chicago legend Tony Fitzpatrick. By … Continued

What Is Sanctuary, Anyway?

“You know how there’s the eye of the hurricane? You could be surrounded by the storm but there’s a place where it’s quiet and it’s tranquil, where you can still think. Where you can prepare yourself and meet with people, and come up with a strategy for defense and secure yourself. That’s what I think … Continued

A Report from O’Hare

They all looked tired, but Amirisefat was lit. “Under the new administration I have to wait in the airport for five or six hours, while my brother in law is detained for no reason? This is insane!” On Saturday, January 28, I drove out to O’Hare with my friend Andrea (who proved to be an … Continued

Be Afraid

  “Donald Trump’s upset victory has been held up as—among many things—an alarming triumph of emotion over reason. But what’s less discussed in all the hot takes is the notion that emotion can and should be taken seriously in public life as it is in private. As establishment liberals experience political fear, many of them … Continued

A Memory Palace of Fear

The “projects” page has been updated. Go there to read all about A Memory Palace of Fear — a haunted house, about housing, that I’ve been working on for the last howevermany months.

Reporting from the RNC in CLE

In July, I spent a week in Cleveland coordinating coverage of the Republican National Convention for Belt Magazine — and I even managed to write a few stories myself. Our entire package can be found here. For my part, I covered a group of clowns protesting Trump’s denigration of their good name and the toxic crowd scene at an … Continued

Tiny Bubbles

Bubbles are derided as the refuge of elites who can afford to remain deaf to views and values counter to their own. But as once-marginal hate speech is given a national platform, it’s critical to keep popping the bubble, to step forward and watch the ugliness of the world unspool. It may not lead to understanding, exactly—some … Continued

Fathers, and Stories, and Stories About Fathers

This time last year I sat for days with my father in his room at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, recording his voice as he narrated the story of his life. “She’s helping me write my memoirs,” he quipped to the endless parade of nurses passing through to change the dressings on his legs, take … Continued

Tiny Homes & Homeless Youth

“Homeless young people are often stigmatized in ways that veterans, for example, are not: they may be seen as drug addicts or troublemakers, they might be pregnant, they may be gay or gender nonconforming. Chicago’s SHED Studio works with young Chicagoans to creatively address questions of homelessness and affordable housing. Speaking at the summit, people who had … Continued