Earning My Second Degree Black Belt

Part of our Second Dan promotion test is to write an essay on What Earning A Second Dan Means to Me. Here is my essay. There were a few things my Taekwondo instructor Mr. Bill Canegata told me before he died. One, was, “You’re a thinker. Thinking is what you do. So think. Stop beating […]

Eyrna’s 8th Grade English Memoir Essay

THEY DO SERVE BEER IN HELL By Eyrna Heisler There is yelling and screaming and fighting upstairs, but that’s a given. I’m seven, in my mother’s old bedroom from when she was a teenager. I can hear my grandmother screaming at my mother, reprimanding, lecturing, as if my mother is sixteen again. My grandmother is […]

My Father, James Jones, and Censorship

In 1950, when my father realized that Scribner was going to cut a great many sexual references along with four-letter words from the manuscript of From Here to Eternity, he grew calm and focused and reasonable–that is, reasonable for a man who was known for his hot temper. He wrote thoughtful, equable letters to his […]

We Want to Do His Work Justice

This is the table in the house our parents rented in Skiathos, Greece, where our dad told us the story of THE ILIAD for the first time. He explained, to our great surprise, that Achilles was gay and Patrocles was his lover, and that was why Achilles got so angry when Patrocles was killed. I […]

Veterans Day

As I was walking back from our writers’ Virtuous Circle lunch at the Algonquin, I happened upon the Veterans Day parade. I took a photo of these young men, so young, really, as they marched by and I felt tears spring to my eyes. A combination of deeply complicated emotions surged forth. I am a […]

Raising Her: A Walk in the Park

It’s sunset and Kevin and I take the dogs for a walk in Karl Schurz Park while Eyrna is at her martial arts class. This is my favorite time of day, twilight, and a huge amber harvest moon floats above the buildings on the other side of the East River. We walk past the children’s […]