“The Other” (Us vs Them)

Alice McDermott's THE NINTH HOUR and her magic mirror

I recently read Alice McDermott’s brilliant book, THE NINTH HOUR, about which NPR said: “The Ninth Hour begins with a suicide. The aftermath is handled with indisputable authority by a nun who works with the sick and poor, Sister St. Saviour, who arranges both a funeral for the dead man and a future for his pregnant…

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Suicide. Cruelty. Kindness…. and a possible movement.

It’s been a painful week, hasn’t it? Wow. Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. A general glut of cruelty and lack of kindness. I told myself I wouldn’t write another piece about suicide, but then I made the mistake of looking on social media, and what I saw upset me so, well, I can’t help myself. I begin…

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Trump, Death, Resurrection and Safety (Pins)

  As dear friend of mine — a Catholic nun I will not name to protect her anonymity — said to me:  last night’s election feels like death; but I believe in resurrection. I do, as well. But sometimes the holy one needs a hand up out of the tomb. So, let me share with you…

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Richard Glossip — Help Save An Innocent Man

My friends, Sometimes, you just have to raise your voice. I know there are a lot of terrible things going on in the world right now, all vying for your attention.  This is one life. One man.  One innocent man. And maybe, just maybe, you can make a difference. I’ve written before about Troy Davis…

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Heresy of the Table

It was a few years ago, when I was still regularly going to church. I attended a Sunday forum led by a priest I’ll call Father Robert (not his name, of course, not even close).  A fire-plug of a man, who might have made a good boxer, he sat at the head of the table,…

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Why Write About THEM?

Every now and then someone asks me, why do you write about people like that? I ask,  people like what? Well, these folks say, you seem like a pretty happy person, more or less, and you have a great marriage and you like where you live and you love your dog and you don’t worry…

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A Great Day At The Prison

Some days are just wonderful.  It’s My Best Beloved’s birthday, and it’s Bailey’s birthday (our dog, known asThe Rescuepoo), and the hot-off-the-presses copy of my new novel arrived in the mail, which just makes me giddy with grinning . . . . but. . . the most wonderful thing about today happened in a prison.…

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Chief Theresa Spence — A Moral Hero

I have been wondering, over the past days, how to tackle the subject of Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike, the “Idle No More” movement, and the treatment of First Nations people by the Canadian government.  My disappointment in Prime Minister Harper and his government grows with every hour. I am a Canadian with English, Irish…

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"I Would Rather Be With You Today. . . "

I’ve been meaning to write a blog for a few days now, but I keep starting and then stopping.  There seems so much to say, about many things:  the US election, my ‘magical uterus’, hurricanes, what constitutes rape, gun ownership and now this — the mob of Israeli Jewish teenagers who beat an Arab teenager…

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The Neighbor as "The Other"

One afternoon some years ago when I lived in the French Alps, I was driving home with my friend Joan, a Liverpudlian (or ‘Scouser’ as she proudly called herself) who lived in the hamlet below my house, which was farther up the mountain.  We had been for lunch in nearby Annecy, a medieval town of…

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