Good Letters

Late Bloomers


My husband and I are going through a time of marital restlessness. Not with each other, but with our life together of twenty-two years––the midlife of our marriage, maybe. The last time we felt this way was at the ten-year point. The result of that restlessness, in combination with opportunity and, we felt, calling, was…

Looking for Release


Dayne, my mother’s ex-boyfriend, spent his childhood in Tennessee, where he got his southern drawl and where his father, who drank, would stomp through the house and sweep his long arm across the crowded kitchen counter smashing greasy dishes onto the linoleum. It was a habit that followed their family on the move to Sauk…

The Evolution of a Beastie


I was in my fourth meeting of the day when I got the news that Adam Yauch had died. Most guys my age knew Yauch as MCA, the throatier member of the Beastie Boys, with a coarser voice and smoother flow than the nasal machine-gun delivery of his band-mates Mike D and the Ad Rock.…

The Man Living Under the Overpass


My daily bike-ride is not picturesque. It’s along a bike trail that’s squeezed between a highway and a tattered string of small factories and beaten down neighborhoods. The bike trail is usually fairly abandoned when I ride it. Occasionally I’ll pass another biker or someone walking. But I can always count on passing the man…

Out of Egypt, Again and Again


I / We. Mine / Ours. How wide the expanse between these terms. When my wife told me, a couple of days before my first appointment with the urologist, she would be accompanying me, I said no. I had my reasons. As I lay in bed, half-watching an episode of Seinfeld I had seen countless…

Teaching My Son to Hunt, Part 2


Continued from yesterday. Some folks like to use the word “harvest” instead of the word “kill.” But we harvest broccoli and tomatoes and cabbage from our garden. When I take the life of a whitetail that will be butchered and stored in my freezer to feed the family through the winter, I think the only…

Teaching My Son to Hunt, Part 1


At the cycle’s center, They tremble, they walk Under the tree, They fall, they are torn, They rise, they walk again. —James Dickey, “The Heaven of Animals” After the brief warmth of days barely above forty and lingering nights well below freezing, the snow that fell last week has become hard and brittle. Crystal upon…

Are You Ready For a Miracle?


Caution: Lourdes is a movie that may complicate your prayers. And prayer is complicated enough already, isn’t it? You’re probably familiar with scriptures that advise us how to pray. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I sometimes read those passages as if they were the troubleshooting page of a user’s manual, hoping I might find…

Motion Pictures


I like movies because other people do the talking and they don’t expect you to say anything clever in reply. Also, something usually happens. I’m suspicious of mass culture, but I’ll say this for the masses—they mostly won’t tolerate two hours of some whiner going on about how exquisitely the world has wounded him. They…

Arts, Fabric, and Fabrication


Years from now, cultural historians, authors, and publishers will look back on the calendar year 2011-2012 as the year that attitudes toward the blurry line between fact and fiction changed. In early 2011 John D’Agata’s About a Mountain was published to much acclaim and hand-wringing. Those of you who followed the controversy over D’Agata’s admitted…

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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