Category Archives: spirituality

The Moral of Pierre

Most people think of Where the Wild Things Are, appropriately enough.  But this week, hearing on the radio that Maurice Sendak had died at the age of 83, I thought first of Pierre, the petulant child of the eponymous “cautionary tale in five chapters and a prologue.”  Pierre, at 48 pages, was my favorite book as a pre-schooler.  I’m told I carried it everywhere, evidence of which shows itself in the tiny book’s ripped jacket, signatures loose at their sewn bindings, a few spots of discoloration (spilled apple juice?). Pierre made up one of four slim books, each the height … Continue reading

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If I Gave a Reading in the Forest, and No Tree Fell, Would Anyone Buy a Copy of My Book?*

While in grad school, some seventeen years ago, I taught my first class and gave my first public reading.  Both were nerve-wracking—I practiced for days, reading aloud  from pages marked up with little arrows and accent marks.  You know, slow down, look up, even take a sip.  I’ve always been one for preparation. When the time came, though, once I’d quelled the butterflies and got through it live, I discovered my inner exhibitionist.  After years of being the shy girl, the quiet bookworm, guess what? I loved to talk to a room of people, loved to hear myself read my … Continue reading

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April Is National Poetry Month

My friend and writing colleague Ilana de Bare has posted a terrific piece on her blog, Midlife Bat Mitzvah, about Adrienne Rich, who died on Tuesday.   Like, I suspect, a lot of women, I heard about Rich before I ever read her poems.  And when I did, I was in grad school taking a seminar on the poetics of desire.  I must admit, I remember Rich’s name on the syllabus more than I recall her actual poetry.  That distinction goes to images from W. H. Auden (on giving head to a younger man) and from a fellow grad student who … Continue reading

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Retreat

I just got home from the convent. A writer’s retreat, actually:  three nights in a small room (bed, desk, chair, sink, icon) at a spiritual center run by Dominican Sisters, a thirty-minute drive north.  Outside the door to my room, a long hallway that reminded me of the hotel in The Shining.  But no REDRUM on the walls, no boy pedaling his tricycle.  Just a long series of rooms identical to mine, uninhabited.  (The retreat center was expecting an arrival today, of some seventy-five people from a Presbyterian church, but during the week, my friend and fellow writer Audrey were … Continue reading

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Let It Shine

There will be no post next week, January 13.  I’ll be back January 20. Epiphany.  That’s what today is, on the church calendar:  the Feast of the Epiphany.  Twelfth night.  The magi—three wise men—showed up to pay homage to the babe in the manger and, the story goes, recognized him as the son of God.  That’s what, to practicing Christians, “epiphany” marks:  the manifestation of the divine. James Joyce used the word to refer to a literary technique, most famously in Dubliners (“a series of fifteen epiphanies,” he called the stories). Joyce’s epiphanies mark those moments where a story transcends … Continue reading

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