There are still some wonderful outlets for essays out there. Here are a few of the dozens I’ve managed to place here and there, including two about father-son relationships (written decades apart) because it’s a subject dear to my heart.   


Am I Hurting You, Dear? 

A Parable About a Mouse at The New Yorker Magazine

published in The New York Observer 

In the late ’70s, The New Yorker was said to be receiving 50,000 blind, unsolicited submissions per year. Of these, they plucked one, sometimes two. One of the two they plucked in 1977 was by a 27-year-old named Daniel Asa Rose who was, needless to say, struck dumb with pleasure. I had never published any story anywhere before—of the dozens I’d fired off to every conceivable outlet across the country for two years, only The New Yorker had considered a few, even going so far as to handwrite a couple of their rejections, but had never favored me with that life-or-death acceptance–so within a matter of 40 seconds, with their shockingly friendly phone call, I went from choking under the sod to flying over the more

Fare Thee Well, Ex-Father-In-Law

published in The New York Times Magazine


Just because you break up with a woman is no reason to break up with her Dad.  You still use the squash racquet he gave you one Christmas, after all.  You still haven't quite gotten around to tossing out the bay rum aftershave he gave you during Reagan's first term.  In my case, it's the front lawn that keeps me more


published in The New York Times Magazine 


The guy behind me on the train was whispering into his phone, something about his soon-to-be-ex demanding the house on the river. Something about how he wakes up nauseous, almost as if he’s undergoing chemo, which he would prefer because at least cancer would be an enemy he could commit to hating instead of being conflicted the way he was, still loving his pre-ex but needing to fight her as hard as he could. With my head against the window in the seat ahead I was feeling vaguely nauseous myself, when I became conscious that a female’s voice was calling out weakly from the front of the crowded compartment. ‘‘Help -- someone help me.’’ read more


published in


If I were locked in tornado winds 100 feet above my death; or no, if I were trapped in earthquake rubble 40 feet beneath the sunlight; or wait, if I were just pinned to an ordinary deathbed -- for these endings happen, too, even more frequently than the others -- I pray that I would have the grace to think back over my life and quietly count the everyday blessings that had been bestowed upon me.  In tribute to the poet Rupert Brooke, who counted his in the deathless poem “The Great Lover,” these I would more

SPRING TRAINING: On Being Both Son and Father  

published in The Wall Street Journal


The other day it happened.  I was banging the dust out of the old catcher's mitt in the meadow behind my house with my young son when my father dropped by.  He's 60 now and lives  a couple of states away, but he just happened to swing by and, as if no time or space had elapsed in the 25 years since last we shared this spring ritual, grabbed the ball to pitch.  He hurled it just the way I remembered, cupping it tenderly in his freckled fingers, bounding into his throw as though the ground was nearly as kind as it had always been for him, as though his relationship with it had grown only a tad more more


published in The New York Times, Op Ed page

One Sunday morning when I was 29, living for the winter in a cottage on the shore of Lake Michigan, I started getting phone calls that an unassuming ditty of mine that I’d sent the New York Times on a lark – for why would the NYTimes care to publish an article about something as small and intimate as eye contact? – had, in fact, been published.  On the center of the Sunday Times Op Ed page!  With a drawing that filled up the top half of the page!  I was frantic to see the bloody thing, but this was 1980 – before Internet, before fax, before anything, and I had to wait for the mail to deliver it full three days later. When I finally got it, I saw that they had left out my middle name, given it a fruity headline, made silly changes without checking with me … but you know what?  It was still nice to see. –DAR

It may be true that to be a young man in his late 20's and never to have discovered eye contact until last weekend is to be a little slow. I won’t make any excuses; I’ve been a little slow. Not that I was shifty-eyed - I didn’t glance, avert my eyes, then glance again; I simply didn’t look at all. But the point is that a number of good things have been happening in my life recently, so I felt good enough about myself and about where I happened to be at the moment - Third Avenue between 54th and 55th - to suddenly more