Hide and Seek

A confession: I love to read mysteries. In fact, of all the books I read, on average one a week, a good 70 percent are mysteries or thriller-mysteries. One reason, of course, is the writing itself. In the pages of Raymond Chandler, or Kate Atkinson, or Tana French,...

Notes to a Younger Self

When I was nineteen I went to Yale. Before you get too impressed, I should clarify. When I say “went to Yale,” I mean, I took a bus to New Haven, walked to the Yale campus, located the freshman women’s dorm — where my girlfriend, who unlike me was an actual...

Empty Room

When I turned 17, I began doing something odd: every few weeks, I would take everything out of my room. Bed and bedding, cello and chairs, stereo, bureaus, bookshelves. Everything. Completely empty the room. And then bring it all back in again — only with everything...

What a Great Leader Does

There were maybe ten of us meeting with him in the room that day, spread out in a circle, more or less, telling him about what we wanted to do, and listening to him tell us who he was and what sorts of things he’d done. The meeting went on for well over an hour. We...

Fountain of Youth

When I was a teenager, I stumbled upon the fountain of youth. I went to hear a concert one summer day at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. I must have been fifteen, maybe sixteen. As it happened, the guest conductor that day was the legendary Spanish cellist,...