kevin's garden

Kevin Smith on Marilynne Robinson and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Kevin Smith appreciates how Marilynne Robinson encourages writers to explore the wounded places in their minds and spirits and find creative inspiration there.


I was driving my red Fiat with the bad clutch down Pacific Coast Highway, as I often did, but on that winter Sunday evening in 1986 everything felt different. I was twenty-two years old, and for the first time in my life I was going by myself to a gay bar.

A Roof of One’s Own

I had been in Buenos Aires a week when my landlady, Marta, gave me a key to the roof, where residents of my building can hang their wet laundry to dry. The key was attached to an Eva Perón key chain, with the word ARGENTINA tucked into the picture, just under Evita’s chin.

El Teatro’s “Victor in Shadow” a Rare Gift of Theatrical Joy

“I function with my heart, not my head,” says Victor Jara, the subject of “Victor in Shadow,” an exhilarating new production at El Teatro Campesino, in San Juan Bautista.

Varieties of Darkness

We are humiliated by our lives. / We think ourselves deserving of a path / Less narrow, of a horizon more pure. / We say it’s not within our dignity / To be sick, weak, suffering, wandering / And knowing nothing...

Tomato Love

The tomato arrived in a small, brown cardboard box, wrapped in plain white paper. There was no note, only the familiar handwriting on the box: from my father, to me. He had begun planting tomatoes again, and this one, he knew, was one of the seasons best.

Muralista: José Ortíz Brings His Vision to the Walls of Salinas

I’m standing beneath the 101 freeway in Salinas. Cars and trucks rumble overhead. The sound of rubber tires rolling across the unseen pavement echoes like waves in the shadows of the underpass.

The Stone Bird

“Where do you get your ideas?” people would inquire. Often they would be holding one of his sculptures as they spoke, the warm skin of their fingers and palms pressed into the cool rough stone shaped and softened by the artist’s patient hands.