To My Pen Pal in Hamburg, Germany, With Love From Watts, California

How a Transcontinental Correspondence Turned Into One of my Most Valuable Friendships

How can we celebrate the people we’ve never met who helped get us through the worst year of our life?

When I was a child, my grandmother often expressed the importance of communicating with everyone. She backed that up with her own behavior. When she walked down the street, she spoke to everyone. It did not matter if you were elderly or a child, or if you spoke English or Spanish. She had a smile and a conversation for you.

My grandmother knew people mattered, so she invested her time and energy …

How Intimacy Fuels Intellectual Breakthroughs

Canadian Philosopher Charles Taylor's Friendship With Indian Scholars Has Inspired Bold Ideas for Over 40 Years

It was, fittingly, through Hegel that I first met Charles Taylor in Oxford. In 1977, I began a post-graduate thesis on Hegel. In love with Western Marxism at that time, …

The Pair

       for Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan (1969-2016)

Don’t eat the spaghetti, she whispered. It’s funny
spaghetti
—her hand raised to one corner
of her mouth, speaking out the other side,
conspiratorial grin …

Why BMX Bike Riding Is a Matter of Life and Death

What My Trick Bike Taught Me About Friendship, Risk, and Shock Trauma

Rather than spending time in the sunshine on my last day of exams, I found myself strapped onto a gurney, an accidental passenger in an ambulance speeding down the wrong …

To Start Talking, Stop Texting

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

Text messages can make us feel constantly connected to the people we care about. But texting, and the ubiquitous presence of our phones, can also have the opposite effect. Who …