Caroline Langston has a liturgical sense of life. A convert to Orthodoxy, her writing honors ordinary repetitions, always with an openness to their potential to bear grace. She writes of life as a reader, neighbor, wife, and mother, of the rhythms and rituals of her DC neighborhood, of the daily tasks of caring for a child, and of memory and the South. In reviews and blog posts, she also writes sensitively and incisively about the spiritual underpinnings of contemporary fiction. Whether about literature or daily life, her observations are permeated with a sense of reverence, an alertness to the possibility of finding holiness in unexpected places. Reading through her personal essays, blog posts (at Good Letters), and occasional fiction, one encounters a trajectory of redemption: a long, slow development from a painful and isolated Mississippi childhood, through a wandering, hungry youth, to a new kind of family life with her musician husband, son, and baby. But the new life, and her pleasure and gratitude for it, are candles in a dim room: Langston is well acquainted with the world’s darkness and grief, and her joy has a hard-earned weight.
This year, armed with some amazing surprise energy engendered by the birth of my second child and the joy of seeing my 5-year-old learn to read, I’m planning to forge on ahead to put together the blog posts I’ve done for Good Letters, along with the essays I’ve published over the years and my commentaries for NPR, to craft a full-length work of nonfiction about faith, Orthodox mysticism, child-rearing and housewifery, growing up in Yazoo City, MS, and redeeming the pain of a sad childhood to become a joyful adult. In my mind, I’m titling thisHouses of the Holy.
Caroline Langston is a native of Yazoo City, Mississippi, and a convert to the Eastern Orthodox Church. She has graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, Tulane University, and the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. She is a regular contributor to Image’s Good Letters blog, has contributed to Sojourners’ God Politics blog, and has aired several commentaries on NPR’s All Things Considered, in addition to writing book reviews for Image, Books and Culture, and other outlets.
Her short fiction has been published in Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, The Oxford American and other publications, and has been anthologized in the New Stories from the American South and Pushcart Prize anthologies. She has won support from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the South Carolina Arts Commission, and has had residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Syvenna Foundation. She was a Scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference.
She is a Sustainer member of the Junior League of Washington, and lives in Cheverly, Maryland, with her husband Brian and their two children, Alex (5) and Anna Maria (7 months).
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.