I broke my neck in high school and spent the next ten weeks on my back, tethered to a hospital bed.
I wrote about this incident in a post called ‘Lying Still’ and recently, IrishCentral, the leading Irish digital media company in North America, ran the article: How I broke my neck and learnt the surprising truth about life.
IrishCentral caters to Irish Americans and the Irish diaspora and is definitely worth checking out for those interested in Irish politics and topics.
The solution to our health care problem is simple: Let’s sell our babies.
The United States currently ranks 169th in the world in infant mortality. A baby born in the U.S. is less likely to see its first birthday than one born in Latvia or Cuba or New Caledonia. And according to a paper by economists at the University of Southern California, Brown University, and MIT, this underperformance is driven “entirely, or almost entirely” by mortality among the poor, who have less access to health care.
Our babies are dying at a terrifying rate, an indefensible embarrassment for a country that spends far more than any other on health care. But we are an inventive, energetic and practical people who are determined to continue with our market-driven approach to health care, so we need to find a way to turn these human liabilities into assets. Continue reading
“In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason – or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.”
Excerpted from John F. Kennedy’s undelivered speech to the Dallas Citizens Council, scheduled for November 22, 1963, the day he was assassinated.
My novel is available here: The Last Island
“The `80s were the last identifiable period. If you see a picture from that era, you know it instantly. The art, the clothes, the hair; they were unique. After that, everything started to look and feel the same.”
That’s what the author Jay McInerney said (or something close to it) when I saw him at a book reading here in La Jolla. He seemed wistful. And why he wouldn’t he be, having hurdled like a latter day F. Scott Fitzgerald into the New York literary scene with his 1984 bestseller, Bright Lights, Big City? As he spoke, I too waxed nostalgic for the time, the scene, and recalled a woman who once leaned against the bar of the Surf Club on the Upper East Side. It was 1988, and I thought it was her birthday.
The Surf Club’s preppy, Wall Street trader vibe wasn’t for me – I preferred the scruffier downtown scene – but there she was: button nose, sneakers, shoulder-length blonde hair and looking like she knew something the rest of us didn’t. Continue reading
Toward the end of Harper Lee’s classic novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ when the rape trial of Tom Robinson has concluded and Atticus Finch is walking toward the exit, Reverend Sykes instructs Scout, Atticus’ daughter, to rise.
“Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’,” he says.
Robinson, an innocent Black man, has just been convicted by an all-White jury, and Atticus, his White lawyer, has ostensibly failed. But they stand up, the Black citizens of Maycomb, Alabama, they stand up along with the Reverend and Scout, because moral courage of the sort Atticus exhibited, true moral courage, must be acknowledged. Continue reading
I write because I am a prisoner.
I write because there exists, beyond the walls of my preconceptions and just outside the barriers of my inventiveness, another story.
It’s not wholly personal or cultural or factual. It’s not religious or utopian. Nor is it political. It’s all of these things, or some, or none of them. It’s unknown, untold; it’s novel.
I write to discover that new story – the one that will set me free.
My novel is available here: The Last Island
When I was 17 years old, I dove into a swimming pool and broke my neck.
Until that moment, I’d been relentlessly active, my days taxed with dread of missing something somewhere. I was on the student council and participated in a wide variety of school clubs. I always secured a part in the school play and rode a unicycle in talent shows. I ran cross-country in the fall, track in the spring and was co-captain of the basketball team in between. I was an honor student who worked full-time in the summer and caddied most weekends in the spring and early fall, except on certain Sundays when I served as an altar boy. I’d never had a drink or a smoke, and I rarely swore. Yet that pleasant summer day, for reasons still unclear to me, I plunged into a six-foot deep above-ground pool and slammed the top of my head on the sloped concrete bottom. Continue reading