Dostoyevsky Pitches “Crime and Punishment”

don't miss the endnote: TO M.N. Katkov[First half of September], 1865, WiesbadenK[ind] S[ir] M[ikhail] N[ikiforovich]May I hope to have my story published in your magazine, R[ussian] M[essenger]?I have been working on it for 2 months now here in Wiesbaden, and it is nearing completion. It will contain between five and six printer’s sheets. I still have a couple of weeks’ work left on it, or perhaps a bit more. In any case, I can promise definitely that in a month at the very lat … [Read more...]

Too Much Harmony: “Water by the Spoonful,” A Play About Friendship, Dissonance, and Humiliating Identity

Last night I saw Quiara Alegria Hudes's Pulitzer-winning Water by the Spoonful at Studio Theatre. It uses dissonant jazz as a metaphor for the disjunctions and collisions in our own lives, asking whether these discordant notes will ever resolve into harmony. The show tells two parallel stories: A young vet with PTSD fights with his cousin about how to mourn his dying adoptive mother, and members of an online support group for "crackheads" (their term, which is important, see below) strive to … [Read more...]

“Defiled”

very, very powerful post over at Mudblood Catholic: Though I've mentioned it briefly before, this was a really hard post to write. Warning: it contains language and subject matter that may be triggering for people who've experienced traumas. To make myself feel better, and probably alienate my readers in the process, I will be interspersing inappropriately amusing photographs. ...When I was an adolescent, I was raped four times.Talking about it doesn't make you feel better, but not … [Read more...]

“When a Child Is a Second Chance”: Me at Acculturated

continuing the series of posts on penitence: When I opened Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City, I wasn’t expecting to include it in this series on portrayals of penitence. The new study by Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson picks up where Edin and Maria Kefalas’s 2005 Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage left off. Sticking with the same economically-depressed Philadelphia neighborhoods, Doing the Best I Can asks young men how they became fathers, how … [Read more...]

Monday Links: More Atonement! Plus Interrupting Violence, Texification of the Church in America, and More

Hey! Here's what I've been reading:Leah Libresco asks for stories of atonement and tells a Jewish fable (which I've heard attributed to St Philip Neri!--and more on that in a powerful short piece here).The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange on "The Art of Interrupting Deadly Youth Violence": "'One of the biggest challenges is overcoming the years and years and years of confirmation that nothing can change,' Achisimach 'Chis' Yisrael, a former SOS Outreach Worker, said, seated behind … [Read more...]

“Jesus Dropped the Charges”

I realize this particular hard-workin' metaphor doesn't work for everybody, but it pretty much always works for me.Via Mockingbird. … [Read more...]

“Sometimes You Want to Go Where Nobody Knows Your Name”: Me on “Home”

a searing novel by Marilynne Robinson: You have preserved my life from the pit of destruction, when you cast behind your back all my sins. – Isaiah 38:17Speaking to reporters on a plane back from World Youth Day in Rio, Pope Francis made headlines with his comment, “If [gay people] accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?” But the hoopla around this comment obscured an even more radical statement in a similar vein: “I see that so many times in the Church, apart from this ca … [Read more...]


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