dylan tweney

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Category: Rough Drafts (page 1 of 81)

Prose that hasn’t been published elsewhere

Fifth Sun

Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs by Camilla Townsend

Cover of Fifth Sun

Camilla Townsend has pulled off a remarkable magic trick in this book, reconstituting the Mexica empire with an amazing level of detail and sensitivity. It makes the Aztecs feel like a real people, with a vibrant and complex culture, instead of the cartoon figures that I pictured them as before.… Read the rest

The tree with the lights in it

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


It took many months for me to finish reading this book, as I could only manage it in small doses. Dillard writes with an intensity level that starts around 7 or 8 and cranks up to 11 by the end of each chapter, and as thrilling as that is, it can also be difficult to bear.… Read the rest

Zen, death, love, and an exorcism.

Book cover image, with a photo of a round black rock next to a small bud vase containing a single white flower with two leaves, on a plain beige table.
Cover of Love and Fear by Renshin Bunce.

Love and Fear: Stories from a Hospice Chaplain by Renshin Bunce

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Zen Buddhist chaplain’s memoir, with many stories shining light on what it means to die, and some of the many different ways it can happen.… Read the rest

I have heard the toadfish singing.

Midway between humble and fabulous. Photo from Elkhorn Slough

The toadfish sits on the bottom of the sea, singing a song of love.

It is a creature midway between humble and fabulous. It is small enough to fit into a person’s hand, and has a bulbous, grey-green, wet look.… Read the rest

Walking through a shitstorm.

So last week I went for a walk before starting work. It was a simple, small walk, just around the block. I was enjoying the sunshine and the blue sky and paused to appreciate the gnarled, massive pepper tree on the street parallel to ours, which I don’t see nearly enough because I usually don’t walk that way.… Read the rest

Either way, you get your pet back.

One of the last decisions we had to make when my father was in hospice care was whether we wanted a teddy bear made out of one of his shirts. It was just a day or two before he died, and we didn’t know exactly when it would happen, but it was clear he was getting close to the end.… Read the rest

Grief and gratitude.

moonrise over Beatty, Nevada

I’m not entirely sure I know the difference between grief and depression.

My father died on February 7, and for the past two and a half weeks, I’ve been grieving his death. This is normal and expected. It’s exactly the kind of ordinary devastation that people all over the world feel every day, that we will all feel eventually.… Read the rest

Ryan D. Tweney, 1943-2020

Ryan D. Tweney

Ryan D. Tweney, professor, book collector, husband, father, and mentor, died February 7 in Pahrump, Nevada, aged 76. Born in Detroit, Ryan was raised by his mother Helene Tweney and grandmother Viola Marciniak, and educated at Cass Technical High School, the University of Chicago, and Wayne State University, where he earned a Ph.D.… Read the rest

November chill.

Photo of police in front of the "Dreamforce National Park" installation on Harrison Street, San Francisco
Welcome to Dreamforce National Park

It’s November, and in the seasonal ebb and return of the San Francisco economy that means it’s time for Dreamforce, the annual tradeshow hosted by Salesforce.com. It’s one of several annual conferences large enough not only to occupy all of the Moscone Center’s three massive buildings, but to spill out into and take over the adjacent street, occupying a full city block of Harrison Howard Street.… Read the rest

The Institute, by Stephen King

The Institute

The Institute by Stephen King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


“The Institute” is a dark vision of psychic power and how it could be abused by a shadowy organization that transcends any one government — people who believe they are doing massive good for the world while actually inflicting tremendous evil on the children they are using.… Read the rest

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