Three Models for Intentional Communities of Friends

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This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves.To close out this week's series on friendship, I'd like to recommend three articles on people building intentional communities that make it easier to bring friends to the center of our lives -- a space conventionally reserved for family and lovers.  Looking for a Housemate, Not a Mate, in Later Life - The New York Times Ms. Kilken … [Read more...]

7QT: A Heroic Nurse, Ingenious Organs, and Popstar!Nietzsche

philip pullman

--- 1 --- I wanted to make sure that if you read only one of my links this week, you saw the story about the nurse at Guantanamo Bay who is refusing to participate in forcefeeding the hunger striking prisoners. Word of the refusal reached the outside world last week in a call from prisoner Abu Wael Dhiab to attorney Cori Crider of the London-based legal defense group Reprieve. Dhiab, a hunger striker, described how a nurse in the Navy medical corps abruptly refused to “force-feed us” sometime b … [Read more...]

Missing Facets of a Friendship

frank charlie

This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves.In Merrily We Roll Along, composer Frank loses his friendship with his writing partner, Charlie, but their mutual friend, Mary, manages to stay close to both of them for a while afterwards, before she and Frank have their final fight.  But, as Lewis would argue, Mary is impoverished by her friends' falling out, even though she continues to see bot … [Read more...]

Patterning Friendship on Family

merrily

This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves.When my friends gathered to discuss friendship, we kept reaching for analogies drawn from families -- both biological links, like siblings, and chosen families, like the women who settled down in Boston marriages.  More than once, the people chatting at my party, when looking for a word to describe what a friend meant to them, said, "He's basical … [Read more...]

What’s Loyalty Got To Do With It?

frank charlie mary

This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves.The trio at the center of Merrily We Roll Along aligns fairly naturally into C.S. Lewis's definition of friendship in The Four Loves.  Frank is a composer, Charlie a playwright, and Mary an author/critic, and, when they start working together in "Opening Doors" (below -- somewhat schmaltzy staging), they move from companionship to true amity: … [Read more...]

Our youths and wildness shall no whit appear, but all be buried in his gravity

Dignity.  Always dignity.

Today, I turned 25, which I am pretty sure makes me even more officially an adult than when I first got paid employment and my own apartment.  I look forward to shamelessly exploiting the dignity of being old for rhetorical force in arguments and at ending a bit of a streak of dull ages (now I've got a square number, next year is eh, but then I have a cube and then a prime).In case anyone is interested in buying me books for my birthday, I keep an Amazon wish list here, and it includes t … [Read more...]

The Worm at the Heart of the Tower in Merrily We Roll Along

merrily crowd

This post is one in a series on friendship, explored through the lenses of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along and C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves.In high school, I took a survey history course on the Middle East, which ran in reverse.  We started at the present day, and worked our way backwards, with a sense of suspense to discover the cause of the war whose consequences we had learned in the last lecture.  Merrily We Roll Along follows a similar format, spooling out its story back … [Read more...]


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