Good Letters

Something That I’m Supposed to Be, Part 2


In my last post I remembered how The Muppet Movie begins. Kermit the Frog leaves the swamp to follow his dream. As American dreams go, Kermit’s is unselfish. He hopes for singing, dancing, creativity, laughter in order to bring people happiness. He welcomes a parade of colorful, kindred spirits: A bear who fancies himself a…

Something That I’m Supposed to Be, Part 1


Plunk-ah PLUNK-AH PLUNK-AH Plunk-ah PLUNNG! It may be the simplest pop-song hook I’ve ever heard. I can hum Bach concertos, Beethoven anthems, and every melody Bono ever sang. I recognize almost any hook the Beatles and the Stones ever threw down. But that little string of banjo notes is the most evocative line of music…

In Search of Gladness


It’s a galling irony that I am frequently asked to speak to young people, to tell them something about life, and what I have learned in mine, and what they should therefore go and do with theirs. It is an irony because my life feels like a slow-moving disaster, and most nights all I can…

Buddy and Me


As I write, my dog Buddy is nestled next to me, wrapped in an afghan, asleep. It is a rare moment, this silence, the sweetness of my dog sleeping next to me, his quiet breath punctuating the air. I don’t know how to write about a dog without sounding dorky or mushy, but I know…

Pillars of the Community


You probably know these people. You may even be these people. The Flahertys and the Hepples. Mike and Jackie, and Tom and Gerri. Two couples, happily married. They own their homes. They’ve got good reputations in the community. They love their kids. And if misfortune knocks, they open the door. The Flahertys live in New…

Hunger Was Good Discipline


Even though I’m terrible with numbers, I can understand and appreciate multi-variable algebra, because I feel it’s a lot like reading: you are trying to solve for X based on its relationship to other known variables. Reading Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast I was struck by the algebraic nature of his writing, especially in his chapter…

Neruda’s Memoirs


We know her simply as “Maureen.” She has become a treasured member of the Good Letters community with her frequent and always thoughtful comments on our posts. But now we can know her further: through her own poetry, recently collected in the volume Neruda’s Memoirs. Now, too, we meet her by her full name: Maureen…

The September Issue


After a recent trip to a southern city where no one wears fleece, I took a moment to reflect upon my Maine mud season couture. (This involved a certain amount of sighing.) Things have gone downhill since I worked in public relations at a Boston hospital, when I dressed up every day. Now I work…



This is the first post that I’ve written—the first real writing I’ve done, actually—since my mother passed away at the beginning of February. She had been sick with cancer for over a decade. I will never forget where I was when I found out she had cancer. I was in the Hillman Library at the…

The Reader

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A woman stands at the front of the bookstore now, holding in her hand, like a teacup, a slate-thin portable device. She is warm and inviting and beckons everyone over to her station, as though they are old acquaintances, come to call. Finger sandwiches, tea napkins, and a vase full of violets could sit on…

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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