Get notified of Words&Dirt updates

You are looking at dirt

Notes From a Pandemic: March 21st, 2021

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. Yesterday, March 20th, marks the one-year anniversary of Humboldt County’s original shelter in place order. Today, March 21st, marks the one-year anniversary of my first pandemic journal. So I thought it would be a good time to check in and share some updates [...]

Erik Hall: A Remembrance

Most people, if they are lucky, grow up with one family. I had two. The first was my traditional, biological family. My parents were both black sheep––one estranged for religious reasons and the other for sociopolitical ones––so these relationships were complex and fraught. Growing up, I spent comparatively little time with my “real” relatives, and [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: January 30th, 2021

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. For my first pandemic journal of 2021, it’s hard to know where to start. I published my last journal about two months ago, and the pileup of news since then has been overwhelming. In just eight weeks, the pandemic got a lot worse [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: December 4th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. No fancy language or poetic notions as I open today’s pandemic journal––just cold, hard facts. After about eight months of successful suppression, COVID-19 has finally come to Humboldt in earnest. November was by far our worst month since the pandemic began, with our [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: October 28th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. In February, a month before the COVID-19 pandemic upended daily life in America and around the world, I spent the better part of a week in Sonoma County and the Bay Area. I was there to share time and music with some of [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: September 18th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. It’s still dark out as I type these words, but a few minutes ago I heard a sound I’ve been longing for since June: raindrops pattering on the roof above my head. It’s probably just a momentary shower, but it’s the first earnest [...]

(De)Liberation: John Dewey’s “Human Nature and Conduct” in the 21st Century

Author’s Note: This essay was originally published as a three-part series by Science and Philosophy on Medium (see posts here, here, and here). This is the original unedited version, which includes an additional section in Part Three that I edited out when submitting for publication. Introduction: (De)Liberation in Times of Crisis In 1918, the world was reeling from [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: August 7th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. It’s been nearly three months since my last pandemic journal. I wish I could say the interval has been uneventful, marked only by the steady progress of sensible folks coping with inordinate strain. But this is 2020 America, where we blend flavors of [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: May 16th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. On this gray May morning, I’m trying to articulate the best lesson I’ve learned from the pandemic thus far. There are so many things we are learning––as individuals, as families, as communities, as nations, as a species––that it’s impossible to huddle it all [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: May 9th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. I come to you this morning in a difficult mental state––one with which I’m not very familiar. Nothing particularly eventful has occurred since my last journal, and yet my perspective has shifted in a way that I’m struggling to understand. I am feeling [...]