You Are Only Free When Everyone Is Free

  My friend, Robin Bates, author of Better Living Through Beowulf, wrote a wonderful essay that threw me back in my seat, exactly as a passage from Ta-Nehisi Coates’s The Water Dancer did to him. Everything that needs to be said is here, so I am reprinting it, with his permission.  He says: “Sometimes I’ll come across…

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Who Goes Through The Rowan Door?

When I was eight years old, my teacher, Mrs. Green, read to our class C.S. Lewis’s classic tale of adventure, love, faith, and redemption, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe. I was enthralled and immediately went on to read the entire seven-book series. It was only in the final book, The Last Battle, however, that I…

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As Civilizations Crumble and Disappear…

I woke up this morning (after spending a day drowsy from the spinal procedure I had yesterday), to find the GOP have won Virginia. This was a decisive win (thank you white women who voted over 64% in favor of the racist agenda) based largely on the dog whistle of the fictional CRT. Even here…

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Even so?

My new book, which I anticipate will be published in the spring of 2021, deals with the challenge of loving difficult people. It’s called Even So, which comes from this final poem by Raymond Carver: And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To…

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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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