When God was distributing wealth to all the nations on the earth, he fell asleep in the Congo and gems, minerals, oil, precious everything, fell out of his pocket.  Thus, the land became the richest land on earth. Does it follow that the richest land would summon the greatest greed? We know why the people are poor.  Now, what can be done about it? Read more

Twice a week, I babysit­­­­­­­ my granddaughter, who is quite certain that she is the center of the universe.  Until last month, she could sleep between her mother and father and say simply, “Some” and a nipple would be placed in her mouth. She will remain the center of the universe at least for awhile—maybe until a sibling joins her.  And then—disruption!  Disruption to all assumptions, disruption to all days, disruption to her own disruptions. She will eventually join other… Read more

Deux fois par semaine, je garde ma petite-fille, qui est certaine qu’elle est le centre de l’univers. Jusqu’au mois dernier, elle pouvait dormir entre sa mère et son père et dire simplement: «Some!» et un mamelon serait placé dans sa bouche. Elle restera le centre de l’univers au moins pendant un certain temps, peut-être jusqu’à ce qu’un frère ou une soeur la rejoigne. Et puis-perturbation! Perturbation de toutes les hypothèses, perturbation de tous les jours, perturbation de ses propres perturbations…. Read more

I love in a world.  The borders of my particular country are irrelevant in the eternal view. “And awake and arise form the dust, O daughter of Zion, and be no more confounded.  Enlarge thy borders forever!”       Read more

A few drops of food color into water, some flour (if it’s available), and voila!  Paint! I took enough brushes for each student in a classroom to have one (they will be kept in the office and shared in various classrooms), and we had a blast!  First time for these kids to do an art project like this?  Almost certainly. What’s in a name? COLOR! We left the supplies there, both at the Universite des Sciences and Technologies and at… Read more

A couple of weeks ago, while I was in Lodja, Democratic Republic of Congo, I was invited to a huge family gathering in honor of a powerful man who had gone from Lodja to important positions in the country’s capital.  There were at least one hundred people gathered to celebrate him and to greet me.  They danced, shouted, trilled, and otherwise rejoiced. At one point, a little girl came forward with her plastic doll.  The girl was a short-cropped beauty,… Read more

“Margaret, are you gríeving Over Golden grove unleaving?” This is how Douglas Thayer often greeted me when we met in the hallway of the Jesse Knight Building, where both of us taught for years.  I wonder if I was the only person who got such a greeting from his rich supply of poems.  I was still in my twenties, newly married to Bruce Young, when he first greeted me this way—in 1985. I had taken advanced creative writing from him… Read more

Based on Joshua 14:12   Give me this chair!         Give me this ramp!             Give me this big rock!             Give me this river!             Give me this mountain!             Give me strength!             Give me wings! Read more

Elouise Bell has died, and I know that she would want people to giggle at some of her humor right now.  Signature Books has made her lovely essay collection Only When I Laugh available online.  This is a collection I assign to my creative writing students, who are to read an essay a day during the essay unit.  Elouise’s essays are pithy and funny, and most of the students can’t stop reading once they’ve started. Elouise was my first creative… Read more

It was 1969.  Dad was training Peace Corps volunteers in Portuguese before their assignments to Brazil.  Mom was pregnant. This pregnancy was rather unimaginable to the Blair kids—the “first family,” meaning we five “starter kids”–the ones who trained our parents in preparation for the “second family.”  In late 1968, Mom and Dad had summoned the five of us kids into their bedroom for an announcement.  We knew it was important.  A move? A promotion?  Dad was going to become the… Read more

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