PERSONAL HISTORY

Defcon 3 in Germany

“You can’t leave the building,” Jimmy said. “The whole base is on lockdown. We’re at Defcon Three. The planes are on the tarmac. Our nukes are armed and we’re ready to go at it with the Ruskies–they’re helping the Arabs and Nixon wants them to back off.” He sighed. “Can you fucking believe it? We haven’t been on this high alert since the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

“Holy fucking shit!”

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Self-defense in Sarajevo

I was asked to teach self-defense to the volunteers who worked at a local community Center. Fights were common between overburdened migrants and refugees and a few women voiced concerns for their safety. After a while, I began to teach self-defense to women in the refugee camp too. The night before my first class, I wondered, would I be doing more harm than good by teaching Muslim women how to kick ass?

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The Soul of Washington

As the nation absorbs gripping accounts from lawmakers who sheltered within the U.S. Capitol during the riot, and from the Capitol Police—a lingering trauma remains. If there is a redemptive dimension to this tragedy, it may be that it has brought home the city’s significance in our collective American story.

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Sheltering in Place on Rhodes

Slowly, the story our lives emerged. We’d each left home at a young age to escape a convention—she left a village in Sweden for a Greek adventure, and I left a small southern town to pursue my writing in New York. She was raised with two brothers and I have three siblings that I speak with almost daily. We were close to our grown children, but neither of us had a man in our lives. Two years ago, she’d lost her husband, Vangelis, and I was long divorced. Here we were two independent women in their 70s, wondering about our final acts.

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