Nonfiction

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LIFE AFTER FIGHTING FOR AN NHL ENFORCER

“Perhaps the biggest change over the last five years has been within the sport of hockey itself, specifically when it comes to the so-called enforcers — Parros's role — and the place of fighting in the game. With the tragic, high-profile deaths of fighters like Wade Belak (suicide) and Derek Boogard (accidental overdose), the entire sport has been forced to ask questions of itself about what toughness in hockey really means.

But it takes a lot for a hundred-year-old sport to recalibrate, and it usually has more to do with winning games — and making money — than it does with concern for the welfare of a small subset of players. So while it's nice to think hockey has moved away from the goon out of recognition of the damage that kind of career can have on the human brain, that's not exactly what happened.”

Originally appeared at Rolling Stone

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IN PRAISE OF BOOKSTORES

“I lived in a bookstore in Paris for six months. It was a romantic and terrible experience: a Turkish toilet, cheap wine by the Seine, all the books I could ever read, cockroaches at the bottom of syrupy cocktails, freezing nights on a short cot in the art section. Wonderful and terrible.” 

Originally appeared at Literary Hub.

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REMEMBERING SUSAN SONTAG

“I’d always wondered which stretch of land was hers, which disappearing gravel drive led to the house she shared with Annie Leibowitz. This part of the Hudson River Valley is among the most beautiful places in the world: rows of old oak trees line the road; rolling green fields limned with crumbling stone walls lead down to the river, interspersed with stands of maple, cedar and hemlock; across the water, the Catskills collect shadow as the day passes, releasing it up into to the sky with the coming of night. If one had a choice where they might die, I can’t imagine a better place.” 

Originally appeared in issue 152 of The Canadian Humanist.