80′s Free Range Childhood Was Not the Same as 50′s Childhood

I've had a recurring thought lately, that I should be a school bus driver, because every day, I follow the school bus all around town, doing exactly what it does at the exact same time. School bus drivers I've known have all been good people, even "Bert" the grouchy bus driver of my youth with her giant mug-a-lug on the dash, and the little black rat-tail hanging from the back of her short haircut. All she ever really said was "Shut up," but there was always a weird sadness on the last day of … [Read more...]

Miracles Don’t Happen If You Never Ask For Them

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Oh my Venus. The stars were bright last night. And I pushed myself beyond previously held convictions about how I'm capable of exerting myself, because the weather was very fine. We took a gluttonous number of free trees from the annual Community-Beautification-something-or-other event. Whatever it is, you bring the city your pollutants and they give you trees.Then we faced down the hard reality, that each tree requires you to dig a hole, to break up the dirt, to plant, to fill in, and to … [Read more...]

Overcoming the Agoraphobic Spiritual Life

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As I sit here writing this, I struggle with the urge to go to the corner cabinet of my kitchen and break off a square of dark chocolate to melt on my tongue whilst I type. I perform this action multiple times a day, usually without really weighing the merits or pitfalls of what I'm doing, and certainly not keeping count of the frequency. If I ever really knew how many times I did it, I wouldn't be able to feign confusion about how the scale just never seems to alter, even though I work out, even … [Read more...]

The Pleasure of Watching a Camel Pass Through the Eye of a Needle

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Our dentist has the best magazines in his waiting room, which is nice since I'm there so often. There's Highlights and Boys' Life for the kids, and some nice garbagy fashion magazines for me. I don't know why I like them--because they smell good, and crinkle nicely under the fingers, or because they have exciting words like "Spring!" and "Floral Fantasy!" written on their covers in bold pink letters. Anyone who can resist such enticements in the deeps of winter is a better man than I.And th … [Read more...]

Disarming my Accuser, with the Sacrament of Confession

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I prepared for my confession sort of inadvertently for about two hours. I was working out at the gym Saturday afternoon, and knew I'd swing by the church on my way home, so I spent the time on the treadmill thinking about the tale I was going to tell in the confessional, mainly because it was so interesting to me, to try and figure out why I'd had such dark thoughts all winter, all the different tributaries that poured into one profound and heavy torrent.Maybe I should have bought a SAD … [Read more...]

Litany of Days

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O holy morning O holy help me O holy child with her finger on my eyelid O holy voices breaking down the stairs O holy cellophane wrappers and boxes in the cabinets O holy fight over the last of last night's rich dessert O holy telling that the day will be one of less thans O holy fantasy of suffering and how I would bear it O holy hurry O holy day on which I'm conspicuously clean, head anointed O holy sharpness of the outside air in my lungs O holy frost on my windshield and snow … [Read more...]

“Hunger”: Interview with Jack Baumgartner, Part IV

Go On, Obed Edom

 ED: Your work reveals wide ranging Biblical literacy, but also a certain world weariness. Were you raised in Church? Any rhyme or reason to what Biblical passages translate into your artwork? JB: World-weariness…? Maybe. I’ll be honest that sometimes I don’t want to be here. I also feel that I have a lot to do. But my concept of time and eternity is always changing. I know a few people who have more reason to be world-weary than I am, so I end up trying not to consider my own “wear … [Read more...]


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