• Introspection,  Personal Miscellaneous

    Cynicism and Hope

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about good and evil, suffering, injustice, cynicism, and hope. You see, I have family in Ukraine, and I’ve spent nearly two months glued to Twitter feeds and TikTok videos and Reddit threads about the Russian invasion. Watching the horrors unfold before my eyes hour after hour has made my mental state a constant fluctuation of anger and outrage and grief and despair. Sixteen years ago my dad married a wonderful woman from Ukraine. A year later, after I graduated from college, I went on a trip to visit her family. We stayed in Ukraine for two weeks. We spent one week in Kyiv and…

  • Author Insider,  Influences

    The Miracle of Story: How J. R. R. Tolkien Taught Me Magic

    When I was in junior high, I stumbled across an odd looking paperback amongst the school library shelves. A fat little man with curly black hair, dressed in medieval garb and holding a sword was being stalked by a hairless creature with bulbous green eyes in a cave. It was, and still might be, one of the ugliest book covers I’ve ever seen. But it did its job. I plucked it from the shelf, intrigued. I’d never heard of this book, The Hobbit, or its author, J. R. R. Tolkien. Little did I know just how much that book with the horrid little cover would change my life. I don’t…