Patterning Friendship on Family


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...]

Elaine Stritch — I’m Still Here

Elaine Stritch passed away today, so I just wanted to share this video of her performing "I'm Still Here" at the White House a couple years ago.And here she is, years earlier, recording "Ladies Who Lunch" for the cast album of Company.Everybody rise! … [Read more...]

Can you recognize the fairy tale I’m signing?


Back to normal posts tomorrow, hopefully.  I've been a little snowed under -- especially as I'm taking a hypercompressed ASL class at Gallaudet at the moment.  So, for now, can anyone guess what fairy tale I'm (trying) to recount in this video from my homework? I needed to tell some story with not-too many characters that would give me the opportunity to contrast the different temperaments of the people in the story.  For some reason (my fever, maybe?) my first plan was to tell t … [Read more...]

You’re Invited! To My Birthday Argument!

Twins 6th birthday

My birthday is still about a week away, but my friends and I are celebrating tonight in the best way... with assigned reading and an argument. Two years ago, I got my friends to all watch Stephen Sondheim's Company and Passion, and then we had a symposium on the nature of love that spilled over onto the blog, with guest posts from some of you who watched at home. This year, I emailed everyone a collection of excerpts from the Friendship/Philia chapter of C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves and we're co … [Read more...]

“Just Treating Symptoms” can be a great approach

therapist couch

In a review of Thrive: The Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies, Jenny Diski is suspicious of CBT as a form of therapy.  She's concerned that it's focused on managing symptoms of distress, rather than causes, and that, ultimately, it's more focused on making mental illness bearable for bystanders than for the person who is ill.  She writes: CBT fulfils the authors' admirable desire for an improvement in mental health provision. It takes at most 20 sessions, often far fewer; it is so s … [Read more...]