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Remembering Sassy

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Sassy wasn’t her real name, and she wasn’t “sassy” at all. But as happens with many grandparents, the oldest grandchild names her—and the name sticks. I was that oldest grandchild. Her name was Sarah, which is what I’d hear the grownups call her. But when I tried, at age one-and-a-half or so, to say “Sarah,”…

Swallowing My Pride

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I lost it at the dentist’s office the other day. I was there with my mother and had been flipping through copies of Good Housekeeping, waiting for hours. I was hungry and impatient by the time she emerged, then the receptionist presented us with an itemized and very detailed list of expensive dental work my…

Poetry Friday: “The Ordinary Time”

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According to the Church’s liturgical calendar, this is the twenty-fourth week of Ordinary Time, the numbered weeks between the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Lent, as well as the weeks following Pentecost Sunday until the first Sunday of Advent. Ordinary Time is the period in which the faithful live not in…

Beginner Ballet

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I hobbled into beginner ballet at age thirty-six, late for my first class, whirring between meetings, racing up the steps to the dance studio that was located, felicitously, next to a burrito joint that served beer. I switched into beginner ballet after a disastrous attempt at intro to hip-hop a week earlier. Ballet, I hoped,…

Leonard Cohen’s Holy and Broken Hallelujah

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My first “Hallelujah” was sung by Rufus Wainwright in Shrek. I was a preteen and baffled that my grown siblings were interested in the soundtrack. The lyrics were deceptively simple words, referencing biblical passages I recognized. I knew it was Dovid who saw Batsheva bathing on the roof; I knew it was Delila who cut…

Ready or Not for the Days of Awe

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By now, I could have read Psalm 27 at least twenty-seven times, once a day for the past twenty-seven days. I could have participated in communal prayer on Shabbat morning three times during this month: Elul. Regular prayer—a practice that may create conditions in which the worshipper can see herself as she is seen by…

Tune in to Great TV Tonight

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The Emmys air tonight, and here at “Good Letters” we’re gratified that our bloggers have written about some of this year’s nominees: This Is Us. “Beginning its third season, the Emmy-nominated NBC drama devotes serious time to exploring the emotional complexities of relationships among adoptive and biological families,” writes Tania Runyan, who added to her…

Poetry Friday: “Field”

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Spoiler alert: here is a poem that purports to describe a vision of heaven but ends up celebrating parental love.  Actually, both are going on at once in this poem. The speaker recounts a dream envisioning heaven as a field which he is driving an old truck across. The truck is his grandfather’s: he’s the…

Emmy Watch: The Americans

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The Americans, FX’s drama about Russian spies living in Washington, D.C., ended its six-season run on May 30. After season five, I wrote in “An American Body Politic” about how deception corrupts various kinds of bodies (national, personal, marital) because intimacy cannot abide it. In one plotline during this final season, spy Elizabeth Jennings goes…

Emmy Watch: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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My annual family Christmas letter swelled from a single paragraph into a sixteen-page spread before I finally admitted at age thirty-seven—to myself, more than anyone else—that I wanted to be a writer, a desire that’d been brewing during a decade as a fulltime wife, mother, and dedicated church volunteer. I hadn’t always wanted to write.…

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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