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Jasper as Writer

Where would I recommend you start? If you’re a fiction-lover like me, maybe you would enjoy a story about an occult ritual with an old cell phone. If you prefer poems, why not try this piece of doggerel, about a cat who ran away. As far as essays, read this hybrid recipe about childhood and tacos or a travelogue about two Tibetan printmaking monasteries. Further Highlights Selected fiction includes a story about sexual frustration and bringing in the weed harvest, a collaboration with a painter that led to a multimedia tale of electricity and loss, and a story about a… Read More »Jasper as Writer


A few months ago, an old friend and I went out for a night walk through my hometown. This city of 7,000 souls is perched over the Pacific Ocean, with redwood forest to the east and coastal plain to the north and south. A quiet town and generally peaceful, especially on a still June evening. We talked some and walked in companionable silence some, too.  As we walked across town and back, the half-dark streets kept revealing different hues of light, different shades, different scenes. Slowly, they cohered into a composite picture of this town, in this country, in this… Read More »Night/Light

An image of a raven soaring over Los Angeles

We Need A National Gun Violence Memorial

Two months ago, as I worked on this essay, I wrote the middle parts and left a simple placeholder—“[some kinda hook]”—where this introduction would go. It’s not unheard of to write the opening last, and unfortunately, in this case, I knew a hook would present itself in the news soon enough. When you write about gun violence in the United States of America, there’s always a next time. Right on cue, horror struck. On the New York City subway, a gunman started shooting his handgun and didn’t stop until 29 people were injured. Miraculously, no one died. Still, the event… Read More »We Need A National Gun Violence Memorial

The Old Weird Internet (Never Died)

Can a retro-looking blog platform help us express our feelings? As I start writing this essay, I’m sitting on the roof of the cabin I built in my twenties, watching the sun go down. Pastels—rose, peach, aqua, baby blue—blend in the sky, only visible through a scrim of threadlike gray clouds that twist and turn, forming shapes that could be letters in a fantastical alphabet, perhaps Martian or High Elvish. A songbird scree-scree-screes. The wind whispers through the trees and up the sleeves of my sweater. A snag stands silhouette against the gray-blue gloaming. Watching the sunset, in late winter,… Read More »The Old Weird Internet (Never Died)

Lightplay 017 – Taco Story

What drives us to cook the same foods over and over and over? When I was a kid, tacos were the consolation prize at the end of hour-and-a-half-long custody exchanges where Mom and Dad each drove to a carefully-determined midpoint and handed me and my brother off for the weekend. These handoffs were always a bit melancholy, especially on winter Fridays when the sun was already well down by the time we made it to dad’s house out in the middle of nowhere. We’d walk down the walkway to his house, a million stars spread over our heads, and feel… Read More »Lightplay 017 – Taco Story

Lightplay 016 – Music and Power

+++From iTunes to Spotify, software shapes our relationshipwith music. Is it time to wrest back control?+++ Let’s start with the positive. By the year 2022 computers have become so powerful, scripting libraries so extensive, cloud servers so cheap, and worldwide distribution so frictionless that there are tens of thousands of folks both with and without computer science degrees who are spending their lives making powerful, useful, and maybe best of all specific software for you and me. If you haven’t thought to notice the world of boutique software, I bet you use it nonetheless. So many apps on our phones… Read More »Lightplay 016 – Music and Power

Lightplay 015 – Espresso

Dear Reader — What does it mean to be a self? Where does the self end and the world of not-me begin? Is identity … an illusion? I imagine a three-panel comic, each frame zooming in on the face of a very confused man: me, Jasper, your loyal if intermittent correspondent, head-scratchily toiling over another installment of Lightplay, my newsletter about home cooking, the writing life, and—apparently—intractable philosophical questions. Welcome to your late summer Lightplay! Please stay; I promise not to get too worked up over eternal questions of life. — — — — — — — — — —… Read More »Lightplay 015 – Espresso

Lightplay 14 – Utopian Proposals

What follows is an installment of Lightplay, my email newsletter. To receive this in your email inbox, subscribe here. Dear Reader — Hello and welcome back to Lightplay, the big email of your faithful if intermittent correspondent Jasper Luna Nighthawk. (Who was until recently named Jasper Nighthawk Henderson.) I’m delighted to return to your inbox, and I hope that wherever you’re reading these words, you and your family and friends are safe and doing okay. Happy Mother’s Day! Here in Los Angeles, I’m spurred to write again by the blossoming jacarandas. Every May and June, these Brazilian trees produce luscious,… Read More »Lightplay 14 – Utopian Proposals

Lightplay 13 – Chronos, Nomads, Fruit

Dear Reader — Greetings on another Sunday in the interminable present from which 2020 is apparently fashioned. Will the year ever end? Will the final six weeks somehow outdo in chaos and pestilence the preceding forty-eight? This morning I received one of the golden tickets of 2020: another negative COVID test result. I hope you, too are staying COVID-safe and -lucky. Now is no time to get lax in our dodging of the virus. If you recall back to August’s Lightplay 09 – the Strangest Summer, guest epidemiologist Erin Graves Quansah warned that “as the pandemic goes on, those who… Read More »Lightplay 13 – Chronos, Nomads, Fruit

Lightplay 12 – the Lost Travelogue

What follows is an installment of Lightplay, my email newsletter. To receive this in your email inbox, subscribe here. Dear Reader — I hope this letter finds you well in health and spirit. Here in Los Angeles, the morning is cool and the air clear. Late fall! Today, I’m thinking about travel. Partly, this is because I’ve been receiving short, photo-laden daily emails from a man currently walking the 500km Tōkaidō pilgrimage route in Japan. (More info here.) Maybe it’s also due to a seasonal fear-of-holidays, an atavistic terror at the big feelings I and others will surely have. And,… Read More »Lightplay 12 – the Lost Travelogue