Spanish Stroll

A week ago, Ben Lerner won the Believer Book Award for his debut novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, beating out fellow Trop-approved author Jesse Ball. Ostensibly, Leaving the Atocha Station is a curious choice. It spurns…

State of Trop

Dear Readers, Today ends Trop’s first week of existence, so I thought it’d be a good time to explain a few things. Let’s start with logistics. We’re going to offer five full-length posts per week—one per…

Welcome

Welcome to our home, Acorn Hill. Acorn Hill was built for a Great Man nearly two hundred years ago. Most people see the house as a monument to him; its columns uphold his legacy, the tall…

I Was Strong Enough

Back in the days when I was strong enough to read depressing literature, I read The Drowned and the Saved. The author claimed that in the concentration camps the nice people with him died, so if…

The Challenge

Yesterday, Evan wrote that he sympathized with the challenge facing me in this task of writing creatively about the weather from a place with a climate as famously uneventful as Los Angeles’s: here, we barely have…

Stevens Square Park

The two and a half acres of Stevens Square Park are home to a few dozen oaks well over a century old, a pergola, a playground, a basketball hoop, a pump-handled well—also almost a century old—and,…

Still Up And Wheezing

It’s been almost fourteen months now. So many are dead. I won’t go on and on here about how numb and weepy this makes me. But being completely dead in the old-fashioned sense is preferable to…

Weather. Or not.

Five years ago, whenever a friend asked me why I’d given up on LA, it was obvious where the clichés ended and an actual opinion began: I hated the people, the prices, the traffic, the weather—…

Introductions

Dear Reader, This legend is a key to the formatting used throughout to indicate topics that will be expanded in future columns, and that those terms mean something more than how they appear: Underlined = vestigial racial…

It’s When And Not If

I moved out of our old house, the one we lived in when you left America. I’m in that one I liked better at the end of our block. It’s right on Lake Michigan, and has…

Zombies Begging For Freebies

Totally quiet in the office today. No real patients, just more zombies begging for freebies. I keep trying to explain that if you aren’t alive, you don’t have a life force, and therefore you don’t need…

Rebecca Makkai

It was so perfect, it felt written: my used copy of Rebecca Makkai’s charming debut novel turned out to be a laminated library one, wearing a sticker (F for Fiction; below that: MAKKAI, R) on the…

An Elevated Spiritual State

Sorry about yesterday’s negative energy. I’d hoped to spend today in an elevated spiritual state. But after I awoke, I couldn’t find enough firewood to cook with and some annoying zombies decided to chase me for…

Don’t Really Know Who

I don’t really know who will ever read this, if anyone. You’re fourteen now, so I’m confident you know how to read. But are you alive?

Panic Attack

Because mine is a commuter school, I’ve come to expect a fair amount of tardiness. Many of my students live more than an hour from New Orleans. They drive in from towns called Geismar and Westwego…

As If Nothing Happened

I saw my first warbler this morning. The birds still migrate south to north this time of year as if nothing even happened. In their world, I suppose not that much did. Some habitat was destroyed—but…