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Microbes, Miracles, and Monstrosity

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I’ve always promised myself I wouldn’t work with anything living, a prohibition I applied first when, in high school, I job-shadowed a pathologist and fainted when watching a lung biopsy, fainted when seeing the wall of stored blood, fainted ad infinitum into the twenty-first century. I couldn’t deal with watching pain, and I hadn’t considered…

Margo Jefferson’s Negroland

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In her photo on the jacket flap of Negroland: A Memoir,  Margo Jefferson looks to me like an attractive white woman in her late sixties. In the chapter where she delineates beauty standards for African American girls in the 1950s, when she was a child, her list of skin color options astounds me: “Ivory, cream,…

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Me

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At night at the Ingalls Homestead in DeSmet, SD, we can see the pale, translucent arm of the Milky Way divide a sky of a million stars. The small bright point of a satellite zips across to our left with striking speed and intention. We can’t see the same sky from Evanston, IL. Down the…

Poetry Friday: “The Embrace”

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piano by Ralf Nolte on flickr

Poetry can recall us to the sensuousness of ordinary experience. Elizabeth Smither does this in “The Embrace” through the pointed choice of particular details. We are invited into a room in which almost nothing is happening, yet the room fills with sumptuously imaged life: two pianos which seem to be playing (though literally they’re not);…

In the Company of Women, Part II

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Continued from yesterday.  “You’re the sort of man who can’t know anyone intimately, least of all a woman.” That may be the most stinging, hurtful reprimand I’ve ever heard. Thank God it wasn’t aimed at me: Those words were spoken by Miss Lucy Honeychurch to her fiancé, Mr. Cesil Vyse, in 1985’s A Room With…

In the Company of Women, Part I

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In late July of 1992, Batman Returns ruled the box office. I bought a ticket for something else: A film about two married women and a grumpy widow who take a holiday and, as The Seattle Times put it, “rediscover their sensuality on the sunny Mediterranean.” Strange, I know. But there I was, a twenty-one-year-old…

Chimayo and the Bloody Knees of Jesus

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chimayo by bob denst

“I want a holy experience!” I say to my companions, Amy and Danielle, leaning toward them in the cafeteria of St. John’s College in Santa Fe. We are all spending a week away from our children and husbands at the Glen Workshop to get some time to write and explore the area. They seem mildly…

Sitting Together: A Week at the Glen Workshop

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I’m an introvert who loves to talk, an often confusing combination that can leave me drained in spite of myself, or perplex my friends when I suddenly slink off after an hour of raucous guffawing. But I just spent a week in Santa Fe at the Glen Workshop, a gathering of writers, artists, and musicians…

Poetry Friday: “Recovery”

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sunflowers by Nick Page on flickr

What I like about this poem is how it slides almost unnoticeably from a simple, upbeat view of life into increasing complexities and ambiguities. The title and opening stanza announce that this will be an unequivocally optimistic poem. But something a bit unnerving happens in the second stanza: that glorious golden sunflower’s head seems to…

The Cost of Glory

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Here I sit, watching the Olympics again; it hooks me every time. I always say I like the winter ones better because there aren’t so many sports to keep track of, but when I start watching the summer ones, they suck me in too. In the winter, the downhill racing and the extreme sports I…

Image’s Daily Blog

For the humanists of the Renaissance, literature mattered because it was concrete and experiential—it grounded ideas in people’s lives. Their name for this kind of writing was bonae litterae, a phrase we’ve borrowed as the title for our blog. Every weekday, one of the gifted writers on our blogging team will offer a personal essay that makes a fresh connection between the world of faith and the world of daily life, spanning the gap between theology and experience and giving language a human shape.

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