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...]

“Holy Agony”: I’m at Commonweal

reviewing the Met's recent Dialogues of the Carmelites:The Metropolitan Opera’s recent production of Dialogues of the Carmelites opens with a group of habited women prostrating themselves on the floor with their arms spread. Their bodies are individual crosses that make up one big cross. This opening for Francis Poulenc’s 1956 opera, adapted from a play by Georges Bernanos and based on a real incident during the French Revolution, seems to subsume the women into a collective identity: the … [Read more...]

“Where the Soul of Man Never Dies”

Johnny Cash & Emmylou Harris. Sort of via First Thoughts. … [Read more...]

Interview on Theology & Practice of Funerals, At Eastern Christian Books

probably via TKB: Earlier I drew attention to a new book about the ars moriendi: Mark and Elizabeth Barna, A Christian Ending: a Handbook for Burial in the Ancient Christian Tradition (Divine Ascent Press, 2011), xii+169pp. I asked both authors for an interview, and here are their thoughts: more … [Read more...]

“Mothers Who Lost Children to Overdose Find Hope”: Tessie Castillo

at The Fix: BJ Sanders of Lumberton, North Carolina, also felt the sting of judgment after her 19-year-old daughter, Shelly, overdosed in her college dorm room in 2005. BJ recalls visiting a grief group for parents and hearing, “Well, my child didn’t deserve to die—she didn’t do drugs.” The experience was so humiliating for BJ that for a long time she would not openly speak of her daughter’s death. more … [Read more...]

“Mirror Sonnet: How to Rise from the Dead”

Intense; nice hit of form-follows-function; reminds me of the Mountain Goats. … [Read more...]

“The Loneliness of the Addict Activist”: Maia Szalavitz

at The Fix: It’s hard to convey the sense of crisis felt by people using IV drugs and facing AIDS in the early ‘90s: In New York, at least half of needle users were already infected—at least 100,000 people—and there was no treatment, let alone cure or vaccine, in sight. The presence of death was always palpable. As was, for me, a deep frustration that most people in recovery seemed unwilling or unable to do anything about it.While gay men had ACT UP street activism and Gay Men’s Health Crisi … [Read more...]


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