Roadmaps for the Soul (or: Hunting, Gathering, Singing)

In “Tombstone Blues,” a song released in 1965, Bob Dylan sang, “The National Bank at a profit sells roadmaps for the soul / To the old folks home and the college.” In the context of the song, Bob clearly doesn’t think this is a good thing. Commodifying the meaning of life? Yes, well . . [Read More...]

Making Sense of Life (or: Three Decorating Ideas for the Mind)

Wallace Stevens once said, “How full of trifles everything is! It is only one’s thoughts that fill a room with something more than furniture.” At first glance, this perhaps sounds like a Disneyesque reflection on the uses of a hearty imaginal life. Or—since Stevens was a poet—a reflection on the power of metaphor to set [Read More...]

Love is the Boss of Me

Recently an organizer asked for a meeting and I went to pull out my phone to check my calendar. “My calendar is the boss of me,” I joked. She looked at me oddly, but said nothing. And in that nothing I heard the strangeness, the madness of what I had just said. I am not [Read More...]

Disappear or Die: Southern Black Trans-Experience

  Today we bless Tela La’Raine Love as she prepares for her gender reassignment surgery.  Every day, Tela blesses this world with her courage, her determination, and her clear vision of a world where transwomen of color live safe, fulfilling, and long lives. Only in her 30’s, Tela serves as an elder, a mother, and [Read More...]

What He Deserves

I’m deliberately late to the discussion of Elliot Rodgers’s homicidal spree. If you haven’t read any of the variety of excellent pieces discussing his misogyny, and how this horrific event relates to the threat of violence that hangs over every woman’s head, you should do that before you read anything more here. (Feel free to [Read More...]

Spiritual But Not . . . Keep Talking

Literary critic Terry Eagleton said, “The din of conversation is as much meaning as we shall ever have.” I like that. On first glance, it appears to be bleak—human conversation is all the meaning there is? But imagine what human conversation has given us. Imagine the din of conversation under the porches and under the [Read More...]

Tinfoil Hats and the Examined Life

Let’s say I tell you I’m wearing a tinfoil hat today . . . What does that say to you? Crazy? Paranoid? Safe from the mental meddling of governments and/or extraterrestrials? It’s shorthand, isn’t it? A tinfoil hat says crazy or paranoid or safe, not because of anything inherent in the tinfoil hat, but because [Read More...]

Salvation Hits the Couch

Buddhism had been known in the United States since the mid-Nineteenth Century, but really came into its own with the return of Pacific War vets who had spent some time in Japan. (The creation of Red China insured that Chinese Buddhism would not be generally available to the Western World for some time.) One of [Read More...]

Too Much Noise

The house is still and quiet. The only sounds are the low gurgle of the fish tank filter and my fingers tapping on the computer keys. The soft light of morning is just creeping over the pine trees out my back window and the streets are blanketed in just enough darkness that the cars outside [Read More...]

Rest Easy

The high April winds blowing damage across the US this week also blew something into town that my lungs are treating as poison.  This morning I face the day with more empathy and exhaustion than I have known in a while.  To everyone who struggles with their own health through the quiet hours, may you [Read More...]


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