Category: Essays & Letters

Good Stories, Good Times

Story by Pete Shaw The late Joan Didion once wrote, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” While I agree with the general tone of that statement, there are always exceptions to even the most beautiful of rules. When I was a kid, my dad told me many stories. As he was a scientist,…

The Impossible Took 68 Months

Story and photos by Pete Shaw Someday they may refer to it as the BVWU Number, the universal standard for the interval between impossibility and achievement. It sure seems like it should be in an organizing textbook. In April 2015, when the Burgerville Workers Union made its debut, it was taking on the challenge of…

Farewells

Story and photo by Pete Shaw About 17 years ago, I was hanging out with Friend Cyndy, and after a good amount of Friday drink she suggested we head to a not far away Vietnamese restaurant, Phở Jasmine. Jessica, my better 99%, was game. I forget what we ordered, but I remember it as a…

Giving Thanks

Story by Pete Shaw If 2020 was a trying year, then 2021 upped the ante. Once again, the idea of Thankfulness this year may seem a bit odd. But as I wrote last year, here we are again, most of us if not all, which is worthy of appreciation and gratitude. And for those who…

What Does Solidarity Look Like?

Story and photos by Pete Shaw In late February 2020 I went into something like a lockdown. The novel coronavirus was just making news in the United States, and since I take immunosuppressants, my better 99% and I felt it would be best if I laid low. While I had no illusions regarding how long…

No Fooling, Part 2

Story and photo by Pete Shaw When is a home a Home? That is the central question at the heart of C Pam Zhang’s recent novel, How Much of These Hills Is Gold. The book, which I recommend highly, was released shortly before the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic and Republican Donald Trump’s racializing…

One Year of Covid, Part 2

Story and photo by Pete Shaw When I went into a quasi-lockdown a little over a year ago, just before the first case of the novel coronavirus in the US was announced, it seemed my life would continue more or less unchanged. After all, particularly during the Winter, my better 99% prefers I keep a…

One Year of Covid, Part 1

Story by Pete Shaw A year ago, almost exactly to the minute of my typing this, I came home from the gym and said to my better 99%, “Do you think I am smart if I say I should not be going to the gym anymore?” While lifting weights, I had noticed on one of…

Giving Thanks

Story by Pete Shaw The idea of Thankfulness this year may seem a bit odd, and certainly for many, a clear-cut case for the glass being “half-empty” as a default position. Yet here we are again, most of us if not all, which is worthy of appreciation and gratitude. And for those who have against…