We lost so many beloved cultural figures in 2016 that the year might go down in history as the Year of Celebrity Death. The losses hit my generation hard. The same year I turned 40 I said goodbye to heroes whose immortality I’d taken for granted. People like Prince and David Bowie, in particular, seemed … More What is a good death?
Secular time is a straight line, stretching out ahead indefinitely. I picture the diagram of “the flea and the acrobat” that the science teacher in Stranger Things draws on a paper plate to illustrate how one might exist in an alternate dimension. In fact, I draw it on my song sheet, a straight line and a stick figure, an … More advent: a brief history of time
God, you old heart breaker. Why must you always ask of us what seems impossible? Why must it break our hearts to go your way? Read the whole thing at Sick Pilgrim.
That desire for a grand adventure, for purpose and meaning, isn’t limited to gen X nostalgia, and that’s why the show isn’t just an inside joke. Millennials in particular often cite a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves as part of their attraction to the arcana of traditional Christian worship. Stranger Things … More Stranger Things, All Too Familiar
I was born and raised in southern Louisiana, and flooding was a fact of life in our low-slung neighborhood. A summer cloudburst could put us on the five o’clock news in New Orleans, and we’d see our neighbors swimming in the drainage ditches and floating in pirogues down the street. Because I was a kid, this … More Lamenting the Flood
I’ll be talking to the editors of America Magazine about my feature “The Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers today at 1:30 pm on Sirius/XM The Catholic Channel. Check the show’s site for archives.
I gravitate toward the strange and gothic—I blame my upbringing on the edge of New Orleans, a place more haunted than most. I like to get good and scared, especially in the safety of my own home, surrounded by those I love. But nothing has captivated me quite like Lore, whose creator—novelist Aaron Mahnke—does little more … More all that is seen and unseen: scary podcasts
I’m poking my head out of my hobbit hole, where I am so diligently working to finish my feature story about teenage spirituality for US Catholic, to tell you that you should definitely be listening to the Nocturne podcast by Vanessa Lowe. It’s essay radio exploring every corner of the night, and it blends expert storytelling, research, … More Things Saving My Life
I’ll be on two panels at next week’s Festival of Faith and Writing. On Friday at 8:30 am *yikes* I’ll be talking about How Chronic Conditions Challenge and Enrich the Writing Life with Daniel Bowman, Jr., and Ellen Painter Dollar. Each of us lives with a chronic physical, mental, or neurobiological condition, and we’ll be … More come see me at the Festival of Faith and Writing
The summer before I got married Dave went away to teach at a program for brilliant young writers and I stayed in Pittsburgh, trying to finish my master’s thesis, which I hadn’t started. One night, there was a terrible thunderstorm, and my friend Rachael came over to keep me company. We drank mint juleps and … More Make Something Happen