Category: The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father’s War

  • A Return (Chatham Cemetery, August 2016)

    A Return (Chatham Cemetery, August 2016)

    My friend Beth lives across the street from the rural cemetery in the town of Chatham, in New York’s lush Hudson Valley. On summer visits from bone-dry L.A., it’s a balm to walk between the pair of centuries-old sentinel maples into the cemetery’s vast silent greenspace; to stroll the rows of mossy granite headstones, shaded […]

  • A Peaceful Return

    It was startling to walk into a museum in Astoria, Oregon a few weeks ago and behold WW2 Japanese flags framed on the gallery wall. Those flags with their  bright red disks on white silk were just like the one I found with my father’s possessions, after he died, in an envelope with one of […]

  • 70 Years After

    On August 6, I joined 35-40 others in a mosaic-tiled garden in L.A’s Beachwood Canyon for a service commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. We sat in silence for half an hour and then, at 8:15 AM, the moment the Enola Gay dropped the bomb over Hiroshima, a cellist began to play. We […]

  • “For we were strangers in the land of Egypt…”: Passover, Radical Empathy, and Reconciliation

    I first heard of the idea of “Polish-Jewish” reconciliation from my Zen rabbi, who often evoked the most radical commandment in Judaism in his Friday night talks: “You shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were once a stranger in Egypt, and you know the heart of the stranger.” This week of Passover, we […]

  • Being Heard

    It’s been an emotional and gratifying week, giving my first book talk on The Crooked Mirror, being interviewed by the wonderful Jack Miles at ALOUD (video, podcast to be posted soon) and receiving two deeply thoughtful and beautifully written reviews– one by poet Piotr Florzck in the Los Angeles Review of Books (and thank God […]

  • Thinking about Exits

    So many leave-takings in a life; some go unnoticed, some shake us to our foundations. Sociologist Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot has long been fascinated by exits, from saying goodbye to her children leaving for school to the cataclysm of leaving a marriage. “We are taught to start our stories at the beginning, “ she writes. “We open […]

  • Thoughts Towards Japan

    March 24, 2011 On this bright March day in Los Angeles, my thoughts are turned to Japan. I write on a page that is white like the snow in Suibara, I remember the bright whiteness of 5000 Siberian swans wintering in Lake Hyoko. In my minds eye I see the Swan Uncle making his rounds […]