essays

My relationship with rock climbing

Ducking under a volume, leaning back against scant holds in order to make the most of my weight. A swivel of my hips, a crank of my calf and thigh muscles to push me up the wall, and I leap higher and catch hold of a small crimp. Again shifting weight, shuffling feet. With a… Continue reading My relationship with rock climbing

essays

Shrugging at collapse: the wisdom of “A Serious Man”

When I was first recommended the Coen brothers’ 2009 film “A Serious Man,” I had just been through a breakup with the woman I thought I would marry. I felt that my life was falling apart around me, and in my pain, I was longing for answers.  Michael Stuhlbarg as Larry Gopnik The film’s protagonist,… Continue reading Shrugging at collapse: the wisdom of “A Serious Man”

essays

What we owe one another: a spiritual perspective

This piece was written for and placed third in the Santa Fe Reporter's 2021 nonfiction contest, in response to the prompt "What do we owe one another?" The Reporter's publication of the piece can be found here. I believe that happiness—and not just happiness but profound, unabating bliss—is our birthright. Let me explain. When we… Continue reading What we owe one another: a spiritual perspective

essays

The great centering: my Saturn Return and the loss of grand narratives

On a crisp morning in February of this year, I received an email from the principal of a Catholic school in my area which read: “Dear Jackson, are you currently employed?” From both the tone and the brevity, I instantly knew that this was a job offer to fill an unanticipated absence. It was two… Continue reading The great centering: my Saturn Return and the loss of grand narratives

essays

“Are you not entertained?”: boredom, silence, age, and youth

Teaching high school these days, I am often reminded of Maximus from Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, imploring the crowd, “Are you not entertained?” I scan my students’ bored, simultaneously hopeful faces, and I want to tell them: as you turn older, your lives will become both more boring, but paradoxically more pleasurable; that’s if you’re lucky!… Continue reading “Are you not entertained?”: boredom, silence, age, and youth