I acted like a groupie at a U2 concert and had a blast. I wrote more about the experience (here). Here's the set list including the opening act, Florence and the Machine: … [Read more...] about U2 Concert
I just finished reading Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. I found it quite captivating, as the narrative moves back and forth between two interesting true stories: the early history of the Mormon church, and a recent double murder committed by two brothers who thought they were fulfilling … [Read more...] about Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer, a book review
Last Sunday I announced to my congregation that I would be leaving my position at the church this June. The reason for my leaving is that I want to spend all of my time and energy finishing some writing projects and finding a home for them, either through traditional publishing, or perhaps through … [Read more...] about Downshifting: Quitting My Job to Write a Book
Last night I went to an author event at the Arlington Public Library for their "Arlington Reads" program. My good friend, the author Carol Howard Merritt, got there early enough to actually get us seats, which was no small thing. Yep, writers listening to a writer: good times! Wendell Berry is a … [Read more...] about Wendell Berry: What Subject Were You Born To?
Yesterday I sat on the sidelines of a particular community of faith. My husband and I attended a Shape Note Sing, which we do twice a year or so. (In that way I'm comparable to a Christmas/Easter Christian.) Shape Note singing (also called Sacred Harp singing) is unaccompanied, four-part singing, … [Read more...] about From the Sideline of a Community of Faith
I heard some great lectures at the Festival of Faith & Writing. Here are a few choice bits from Scott Cairns, poet and essayist, raised-Baptist, now-Orthodox: "Tell the Calvinists they're not as bad as they think they are." "Writers are people who use their writing to figure things out, not to … [Read more...] about Writers on Writing: Scott Cairns
The wooden room resounded with sound as a half-hundred people stomped their feet and industriously pumped their arms to accompany their singing. We sang from "The Sacred Harp," a hymnal first published in 1844, with lyrics pining for the Promised Land and glory beyond. Back then, church singing … [Read more...] about 12 Things I Enjoy About Sacred Harp Singing
One of the many reasons I love U2 is the way they keep reinventing themselves. It's not easy for artists to keep moving forward creatively, especially in a collaborative way. If it were easy, more people would manage it, right? This band makes me believe in synergy. Their vision is responsive, … [Read more...] about U2: Holding Onto Love
Please read this book. It won a Pulitzer for fiction for good reason. Olive Kitteredge is fiction in a unique format: linked short stories. Each story includes the character Olive Kitteredge, a tall older woman, a schoolteacher, the sort you might call a "battleaxe". And yet I would gladly have read … [Read more...] about Olive Kitteredge, by Elizabeth Strout, a book review
I became acquainted with the work of Diane Glancy when I lived in Minnesota. She's an interesting person, with a rather bifurcated background (Cherokee/Baptist) who has been incredibly prolific, producing award-winning poetry, plays, fiction, and non-fiction. I enjoyed hearing Ms. Glancy speak at … [Read more...] about Stone Heart, by Diane Glancy, a book review
I'm not referring to the radio show. ?I'm being literal here. How much should cars be allowed to talk? My family and I have debated this when we're stuck in traffic, and have established the following Rule of Thumb (which I believe should be widely adopted, if not become the Rule of Law): Cars may … [Read more...] about Car Talk: Rules About Bumper Stickers
Acedia is an ancient term for a sin which can be defined as apathy, or boredom, or more precisely, "why bother." I heard Kathleen Norris talk about acedia at the Festival of Faith & Writing. She quoted some very profound writers on the subject. Acedia was a big problem in monasteries in the 4th … [Read more...] about Got Acedia? Who cares.