On Robert Macfarlane, and how the words we use define us

Toni Morrison said that language “arcs toward the place where meaning may lie,” but life also arcs toward language. This is beautifully explored in the movie Arrival, when a linguist’s apprehension of an alien language shapes her own experience of time. But it is terrifying when language lies, oppresses, steals, and erases—and life distorts in … More On Robert Macfarlane, and how the words we use define us

“Deeper Into Mystery” in America Mag’s Spring Literary Issue

Books by revered white Christian men haven’t been much comfort to me lately. A Grief Observed is the only Lewis book I can stand to read anymore. Here we see the great apologist, one of our finest and most beloved spiritual writers, stripped of his convictions and openly, viciously angry at God. The Oxford don is confused, … More “Deeper Into Mystery” in America Mag’s Spring Literary Issue

A word about JoBeth Williams as Diane Freeling, Horror Movie Mom

  I was listening to the She Kills podcast today on my daily walk. I’m three episodes deep and so far it’s everything I hoped it would be: smart women–actors, writers, directors–having deep conversations about their favorite horror films and their own work. Episode three featured Clarke Wolfe and Barbara Crampton on “The Final Girl” … More A word about JoBeth Williams as Diane Freeling, Horror Movie Mom

Hereditary: The Horror of Generational Trauma

Recent studies in epigenetics provide scientific evidence for what the Old Testament writers knew: According to multiple researchers, we really do carry our parents’ trauma in our bodies. In fact, the evidence suggests we carry the impact of our ancestors’ traumas in our DNA, just as God promised, going back at least three generations. Our … More Hereditary: The Horror of Generational Trauma

The Silence of Missing Voices

What is the relationship between silence, creativity, fear, doubt, death, and missing voices — especially in art and literature? I spoke with the hosts of Encountering Silence about why I teach Tillie Olsen’s “Silences” in all my creative writing classes, and about the relationship between silence and creativity, silence and privilege, silence and the body, … More The Silence of Missing Voices