A Letter From Napa Valley, Where Love Burns Hotter Than Fire

A Writer Reflects on Fleeing Northern California's Glass Fire, the Written History She Lost to the Blaze, and the Relationships That Sustain Her

I nearly died last week, which is how I realized: All of my stories are about love.

It was about 3 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27, and my husband Tom and I were asleep. My nose twitched and I thought, How odd to smell something burning. I assumed I was dreaming and kept my eyes closed.

Then I heard the wind through the open bedroom window: Whooooooosh, whoooooosh, whoooooosh!

I immediately opened my eyes—a burning scent and a boisterous wind do not a good combination make. I looked out the …

More In: Ideas

Could California-Style Voting by Referendum Unify the Nation? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Could California-Inspired Voting by Referendum Unify the Nation?

An Expert in Direct Democracy Offers a Plan to Improve the Republic, One Ballot at a Time

California has a solution for America’s putrid populism and political paralysis on issues from abortion to voting rights to reducing greenhouse gases.

That solution is adopting direct democracy at the national …

In Zimbabwe, Literature Is Protest | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In Zimbabwe, Literature Is Protest

A New Generation of Authors Are Giving Voice to the Post-Mugabe Reality

In November 2017, when a military coup removed Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s head of state after 37 years of rule, euphoria gripped the whole country. Many saw it as an …

Coming Home to the Holocaust | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Coming Home to the Holocaust

My Mother Barely Escaped Nazi Germany. I Returned to Remember Those Who Didn't and to Reclaim Them as My Own

In the town hall of Fischach, a village in southern Germany with a population of 2,500, I am staring at a glass display case holding the detritus of the Jews …

Why ‘Treason’ Usually Isn’t Treason | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why ‘Treason’ Usually Isn’t Treason

The Constitution Defines Treason Narrowly. That Hasn’t Stopped the Overblown Rhetoric

The last four years have been a strange time to be a scholar of American treason law. The members of this tiny (and I mean really tiny) group used to …

California’s Eastern Sierra Reminds Us There’s Life After Disaster | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

California’s Eastern Sierra Reminds Us There’s Life After Disaster

In the New Memoir Miracle Country, a Preview of Our Windblown, Fiery, Beautiful Post-Apocalyptic Potential

How will Californians ever recover from this year of apocalypse and conflict, of pandemic and fire, when landscapes and lives were broken, seemingly forever? Where can we find a miracle?

In …