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The Vocation Trap

By Bryan BlissOctober 5, 2017

My wife is finishing up the first of a multi-year graduate program in nursing. When she graduates, it will be with a doctor of nurse practice. (This will also, coincidentally, mark my retirement. Or so I keep telling her. She has yet to comment.) Anyway, her pursuing this degree has been a conversation we’ve had…

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Why I’m Writing a Death Penalty Book for Teens

By Bryan BlissSeptember 14, 2017

1. I was standing in the kitchen of a rental house in the middle of forty acres of woods deep in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, when I told my agent I wanted to write about the death penalty, a topic that had chased me for over a decade. I’d only recently sold my first…

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Guns N’ Roses in This Lifetime

By Bryan BlissAugust 10, 2017

The first time I encountered Guns N’ Roses, it was a flag hanging on the bedroom wall of a kid I barely knew. You’ve likely seen the image—a cross, adorned with representative skulls for each member of the band. I hadn’t heard Appetite for Destruction at that point, but I knew this was something to…

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The Mysteries of Revision

By Bryan BlissJuly 5, 2017

When a former MFA professor asked me to come to her class and speak on revision, I immediately said yes. Not only was she a writer and an academic that I respected, there had been an ongoing, semi-inside, joke between me and some of my MFA cohort members about my desire to be acknowledged by…

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Cutting Down the Butterfly Garden

By Bryan BlissJune 7, 2017

When we bought our new house, a jungle of weeds marked the front yard. I was annoyed. The previous owners—moving out of the state—had obviously phoned in the upkeep in their last months of ownership and I wondered aloud what else they would abandon in their final nights. Would we come home to a clogged…

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Tweeting My Theology

By Bryan BlissMay 16, 2017

When I went to seminary, there was concern. Friends whispered. Had I gone rogue? Or worse: been “saved”? Would I suddenly start dropping things like washed in the blood into regular conversation? Admittedly, the calling to serve the church was sudden and powerful, like lightning. I had always considered myself a Christian, even if I…

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Palm Fronds

By Bryan BlissApril 13, 2017

My daughter held the palm frond as if she’d never seen such a thing. I gave mine a perfunctory wave. We were both visitors, standing in the foyer of an elementary school turned church. The pastor was a friend, but in the ten minutes before a worship service—especially during Holy Week—I wasn’t going to latch…

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