Good Letters

My Summer Job


For most of my life, I’ve never had a really fun summer job. I’ve bagged groceries, sat alone in an office and answered a rarely-called hotline, and shouted in English at Chinese schoolchildren. But I guess I’ve finally paid enough dues, because this summer, I have decided on a new job, and one that I…

Down on the Rug


My goddaughter is eleven years old. Every week, she and I spend an afternoon and evening together, usually involving an outing—to a museum, or the library, or a huge model of the largest estuary on the west coast, more frequently referred to as San Francisco Bay. But sometimes we just hang out. When her mom’s…

Owning the Spirit


This month I bought a large framed photograph of the Holy Spirit. Impossible, you say? Heretical, perhaps? But imagine this: An empty dance floor in an old school or a city loft somewhere. A row of casement windows open to the breeze, light streaming in. A single metal folding chair against the far wall. And…

Nurse Jackie: Good, But Not Yet


When did I stop feeling sure, feeling safe And start wondering why, wondering why Is this a dream, am I here, where are you What’s in back of the sky? From “Valley of the Dolls,” Nurse Jackie’s theme song “Showtime’s comedies…have the whole God-Is-Dead thing down to a science,” posits a June 7 Newsday review…

Knit Two, Purl a Poem


This post isn’t just for knitters. It’s for anyone who reads poetry—or prose. I’d love your help in sleuthing for knitting metaphors: in poetry especially, but wherever they happen to turn up. In my previous post, I mused on knitting as a way of meditating with poetry. Today I want to turn the tables and…

Knit One, Purl a Poem


Knitting is my current obsession. I began learning just a year ago, after I won three classes at a silent auction for a community organization in my town. When I decided to bid for the knitting classes, I was thinking: yes, in my grandmotherly years, this is the perfect craft to teach my young granddaughters.…

To Write


I find creative writing difficult. This is in contrast to my professional writing as a consultant, which I find, after twenty five years, relatively straightforward: if you’ve written one foundation report or federal grant, you’ve pretty much written them all. But real writing, as I think of it—including this blog—is another story. While I normally…

Any Second Now


Though I was born prematurely, I’ve begun to think that I was really born late, about ten years too late, because I was born with a love for films in which the most pressing issues are high school graduation and how to talk to girls, and consequently I missed all the best ones. This genre,…

Exodus 2048


The year is 2048 and the nation of Israel has all but collapsed in an overnight power vacuum brought about by the double-headed disaster that coincides with its centennial: a downward spiral in foreign aid from a much weakened America, combined with the demographic liability of an exploding Palestinian population, leaves the Jewish state ripe…

On Earth as it is in Heaven


Sharing cigarettes, two boys recline on a sun-baked rock high above their village. Here, close to heaven, they’re able to forget their troubles and enjoy the view. A gunshot jolts them from their reverie. Down among the technicolor trees, a hunter blasts at a bird with his rifle. He hits his mark, but then wanders…

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Jessica Mesman

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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 week gifted writers offer personal essays that make fresh connections between the world of faith and the world of art. We also publish interviews with artists who inspire and challenge us.

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