December 2, 2018

When I read that pop-history book about the beguines (laywomen who lived in community, basically), I wondered whether beguines paid so much attention to Purgatory, so much that they were even credited with releasing souls to Heaven through their prayers, in part because their spirituality was so influenced by courtly love. If love is passion–if love always comes hedged around by obstacles, by walls of thorn and rings of fire–then perhaps it’s intuitive that God’s love would be experienced by… Read more

November 26, 2018

at The Week: Any book titled Against Memoir will inevitably be a descent into the self. Michelle Tea’s new collection of “Complaints, Confessions & Criticisms” opens with a tribute to Valerie Solanas, who wrote the violent, viciously comic feminist SCUM Manifesto and then shot Andy Warhol; it’s also a portrait of Tea’s own adolescence, centered on her discovery that her stepfather had drilled peepholes in the walls of her bedroom and bathroom. In memory she revisits the scene, spying on… Read more

November 20, 2018

Earlier this year I edited an anthology, Christ’s Body, Christ’s Wounds: Staying Catholic When You’ve Been Hurt in the Church. The essays and poetry in the anthology explored how people who have been deeply hurt by other Catholics—by racism, gossip, financial crime, or various forms of abuse—come to learn that Jesus is not their abuser. The authors offered glimpses of faith they were still reshaping, trust they were still recovering. This has been a hard year to trust God in… Read more

November 19, 2018

which I review for America magazine: There is a moment toward the beginning of Rupert Everett’s new Oscar Wilde biopic, “The Happy Prince,” when Wilde interrupts his welcome-back-from-prison party to declaim, “I met Christ in prison.” His friend Reggie Turner (Colin Firth) quips, “Oh? What was she in for?”, but Oscar is having none of it: “Don’t joke, Reggie.” Everett, who is writer, director and star here, lets you hear all the curlicues in Oscar’s voice, the delectation of his… Read more

November 14, 2018

Well, the reason is my whole time-travel rosary thing, which I’m still doing (and will post about when I catch up with the present day, which should be early 2019). So I have been reading fanfiction and old LiveJournal posts, and while I did not reread the books because life is much too short, I did rewatch all the Harry Potter movies. Extremely scattered and pointless notes follow. BTW I still really like a lot of pogrebin’s fanfic–I like her… Read more

November 12, 2018

You will know if you want to read Catherynne Valente’s new novel, Space Opera, as soon as I tell you what it’s about: Aliens force the remaining members of a washed-up glam band to perform in an intergalactic Eurovision Song Contest, with the fate of the entire Earth on the line. There are two kinds of people in this world; I’m the kind who heard “intergalactic Eurovision Song Contest” and thought YES PUT IT IN MY FACE. Space Opera gave… Read more

November 11, 2018

A little while ago a Marist seminarian emailed me about his “sacred prog band,” the Radiant Obscurity Collective. I do not know what most of the words in that sentence mean, but I figured I would give the disc a spin; and I really enjoyed it. There’s a strong, ethereal woman’s voice, flutelike and lifting up toward the stars–it’s a voice like a shaft of moonlight, and the arrangements give it a lot of nice dark space to shine in…. Read more

November 1, 2018

demons are made of mouths: Lords of Chaos, a new biopic of the late founder of Norwegian death-metal, tells the story of a man who played the role of Satanist so well that he created an actual murderous death-cult, dying at the hands of a jealous disciple. He is the man who memed himself to death. more Read more

October 31, 2018

[sorry, removed as I work on this for publication] Read more

October 31, 2018

I have thought deeply about this question. Also, feel free to be amused by how precisely this list allows you to guess my age. Gerard McMahon, “Cry Little Sister” Michael Jackson, “Thriller” (note the title card!) PJ Harvey, “Man-Sized Sextet” Siouxsie & the Banshees, “Premature Burial” Echo & the Bunnymen, “The Killing Moon” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, “I Put a Spell on You” Coil, “Love’s Secret Domain” The Cramps, “Eyeball in My Martini” WHAT’S THIS BURDEN THAT I BEAR??? Severed Heads,… Read more

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