“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...]

Thanatostalgia

I don't actually know who Russell Brand is, except that he's British and popular for some reason and he said this thing, which really resonated with me: A new documentary about comedian Russell Brand lays bare the lifelong grip addiction can hold on an individual—even one with long-term recovery. In Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery, BBC3 follows the 37-year-old as he goes back to visit the Focus 12 Centre in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, where he got clean in 2002. The program shows di … [Read more...]

Take the Guns, Leave the Cannoli–Unless the Cannoli Is What You Need!

I'm a compulsive giver of advice. Despite my demonstrable lack of ability to run my own life like a person, I appear to believe that I could do well running yours. Now and then my friends have to basically say, "That's great and all, stop helping." I have the stereotypical guy thing where the wife just wants to be heard and commiserated with, and the husband insists on trying to solve the problem.Because of this, which I'm trying to present cutely but which can really become a character … [Read more...]

“Unmaker’s Mark”: I review “What Happened to Sophie Wilder”

at AmCon: ...There’s a lot going on here. There’s Sophie’s quest for identity (she has three different surnames throughout the novel), a quest she seems to be trying to escape—she wants to surrender to an identity, sink into it, rather than having to go out and conquer and defend it. She doesn’t want her conversion and subsequent changed life to be about her search for self, but about her encounter with God.There’s a grim consideration of suffering and how it resists narrative. If you demand … [Read more...]

My Keys to Your House

I read Gail Caldwell's 2010 Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship basically because Wesley Hill recommended it so highly. I think my appreciation for the book was more muted than his, but it's a very quick read, and it did portray the small intimacies of friendship between two difficult, standoffish people really well.The short version of the story is that Caldwell met Caroline Knapp when they were both adults and had both quit drinking: Caldwell had been sober for about a … [Read more...]

Hammered Horror: “A Horrible Way to Die”

Indie horror flick A Horrible Way to Die is a great example of how a moviemaker can misunderstand what's so special about his idea. The basic story of the film is straightforward: A woman tries to settle in to her new life in a new town, but her serial-killer ex (whom her evidence put away) has escaped from prison and is on the road heading back to her. There are some twists and turns, because Not Everyone Is What They Seem, and then there's a final confrontation between killer and girl.But … [Read more...]

Speaking of Endurance

His-and-hers perspectives on chronic relapse. Strong stuff. She: I met my husband, Jimmy, at my very first AA meeting. I stumbled into the 14th Street Workshop, bloated and reeking of booze from the night before, in my pajamas. I hadn't showered in days, and I was wary of the people in the room. I didn't trust anyone.Jimmy recognized that I was new (it wasn't hard to spot), and he put out his hand to shake mine, welcoming me and giving me a meeting list. I don't remember much about that … [Read more...]


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