I think we’ve all seen the recent inflammatory article about people with Down syndrome. I can’t stop thinking about it or the debate that it’s brought to the surface–a debate that, if you’ve followed Down syndrome advocacy groups, you know is nothing new. And by “debate” I actually don’t mean the abortion debate. In the … More We Need People with Down Syndrome
I want to be loved. That is even the deep-lying reason why I elected to write. When I was eighteen, I read The Mill on the Floss, and I dreamed that one day I would be loved the way I loved George Eliot then. – Simone de Beauvoir
In the sonnet, “Felix Randal,” Gerard Manley Hopkins remembers a local Liverpool blacksmith that he had ministered to. Thanks to the work of Alfred Thomas, we even know who inspired this poem. One of Hopkins’s parishioners, A Liverpool farrier by the name of Felix Spence, died after suffering from an illness in 1880. Usually when … More “Felix Randal” as a Pattern for Remembering Hopkins
While packing up my books for the move, I came across a passage in Frederick Buechner’s autobiography, The Sacred Journey, that I must share with you. At the same time I happened to have for an English teacher an entirely different sort of man. He had nothing of the draughtsman about him, no inclination to drill us … More The Power of Language to Transform the Human Heart
Br. Monday is still nowhere to be seen. Until he shows up again, here’s a story from a modern monk, Jeremy Driscoll. He tells about his meeting with the poet, Czeslaw Milosz: [Milosz] asked me virtually at the outset, “Do you as a monk find anything useful in my poetry?” I answered him that of course … More Milosz and the Monk
The reason to read Blake and Dickinson and Freud and Dickens is not to become more cultivated or more articulate… The best reason to read them is to see if they may know you better than you know yourself. You may find your own suppressed and rejected thoughts flowing back to you with an “alienated … More Ten Books that Formed Me
“Who cares?” A student asks an insightful question, and this is the deflating comment from across the room. How to respond to this? “The wielder of the gradebook cares?” No, it is never good to go that route. The very existence of that book can be an uncomfortable reality for both parties. “Your classmate and colleague … More Why Should We Care?
In One Writer’s Beginnings, the southern novelist, Eudora Welty, describes how she became a loving observer. At the age of six or seven, she was bedridden for several months due to a heart condition. During this time, she was allowed to sleep in her parent’s bed, and they would shade the lamp just right so … More The Loving Kind: Poetry as Community