Latest Articles, Columns, Short Stories

In a New York Minute

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Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

I was sitting with my young children in Amsterdam on a hot day in July, when a florid-faced man holding a crumpled map sat down next to me. He wiped his brow and said his name was Howard. He was a tourist from Texas. He told me that I lived in a great city. You take your time here, he said. But Howard said he would only spend one day in Amsterdam. Tomorrow he would do Paris.

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In the Labyrinth

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Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

Dorothea von Moltke is the co- owner of Labyrinth Books, the high-quality bookstore in my home town of Princeton, NJ. She speaks with a slight German accent, even though she was born in America. As we walk among the shelves of her store, she explains its name: “A labyrinth is a place to look and get lost. To gather knowledge, to weigh conflicting ideas against each other and find beliefs. But a labyrinth without minotaur is just a maze. Books should also let you struggle with the unknown, with your own demons, so you find out who you truly are.”

Posted in: Newspaper Columns
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“A Millennium for Nothing”

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Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

Everyone has their own reasons for living in a privileged town like Princeton, New Jersey —but Jim McCloskey’s are different. “I live in Princeton,” he says, “because it is located exactly halfway between the East Jersey State Prison in Rahway and the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.” McCloskey visits these prisons frequently as part of his pioneering Centurion Ministries program to free wrongly convicted prisoners. 

Posted in: Newspaper Columns
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Jumping Into the New Year

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Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

Iam spending this New Year’s Eve in my former home of Amsterdam. As my train glides into the Central Station in the rain, I look out across the River IJ where the ferries arrive and depart. Storm clouds sweep over the black water.

Posted in: Newspaper Columns
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Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

In Christmas week my home town of Princeton, N.J., turns into a set- ting for a fairytale. The gargoyles on the university chapel are dusted with snow. The turrets on the Gothic towers rise against a piercingly blue sky. The pine and fir trees in town show off their lights and glittering ornaments; doors are hung with wreaths and garlands. Stores are perfumed with a heady mixture of cloves and cinnamon. From the loudspeakers we hear yet another version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The whole town is trans- formed into a fantasy that could be rendered by Norman Rockwell.

Posted in: Newspaper Columns
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Pieter and Bill

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-Bill Eliane
Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

In Amsterdam every morning at seven o’clock I walked to the bakery around the corner to buy bread. In front of the baker’s shop, on a wooden bench, sat Pieter. He was a man of about sixty, though he might have been younger. Or older, for that matter. A fierce, bristling beard, worn shoes, and, above all, a loud voice, in which he commented on everything and every- one. “So, Pia” — he never forgot my name — “here you are again!”

Posted in: Newspaper Columns
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Saving Charlotte: A Mother and the Power of Intuition
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