The Symptoms of Hatred

By on Jun 20, 2015 in Featured, Temporal, Words | 1 comment

With my Ethicist hat on (because I am upset, and being analytical is a defense of mine that I choose right now):

What happened in Charleston there are no direct words for. We all agree. I’m not going to try to say anything acutely about that out of respect for the families, the survivors, and those who were killed. I am praying for them, that is all I can do. From the reports, those who the tragedy most intimately wounded, and who have spoken to the media, have done so with pure hearts. With reflections of their spirituality and the deepness of their care for their God and for peace. This is theirs to respond directly about. Would that we were all motivated by such compassion. It is the one of the most powerful antidotes for cruel hatred. They are heartening, brave, enlightened examples of that. May their love ripple cross oceans and be rushed back to them with the incoming tides.

Read More…

South Carolina Honors College Talk 3/14/2015

By on Mar 21, 2015 in Featured, Temporal, Words | 0 comments

My publisher at USC Press, Story River Books, asked me to put this up as a blog.

So, ok. But I have to couch it with this little PSA:

The following talk was presented to a gaggle of seriously diverse and delightful aspiring writers (high-school age) at the University of South Carolina’s Honor’s College Writing Competition. Holy bananas were they adorable! As a teacher, you would kind of want to eat them like bon bons. We crave desire, the difficulty of being earnest, seriousness that borders on crazy, but teeters right between crazy-awareness and crazy-as-super-fun. As both teacher and artist, this gathering of students is the secret spice in inspiration, in motivation, and hope. They are fragile enough to care, still.

Read More…


By on Feb 19, 2015 in Featured, Temporal, Words | 0 comments

A dear friend of mine from college days (we won’t detail how many years ago that was) emailed me nearly out of the blue. He didn’t ask “How’s life?” He asked, “What’s good with you?” And I can see his dreads bouncing in nuanced rhythm to what he’s asking. This is a deep fellow. A smart fellow. The kind of fellow you can cut to the chase with, whether or not he agrees with you; the kind of fellow who naturally speaks like his words rhyme, even if they don’t. The sway of intonation creates syllabic resonance. He’s a smooth dude. A cool, but severely deep, cat. His heart beats poetic.

So when he asks me, “What’s good?” I take that question, and its discreteness from “How is life?” seriously.

Read More…

Married #2

By on Dec 31, 2014 in Temporal, Words | 0 comments

As I said in Married blog #1, things did unexpectedly change after the ritual. And no, it’s not just because people keep asking “How is married life?” Though I do find that question slightly annoying. Ask me something specific. Do I have doubts? Am I happy? Do I love him? Do I now, after all these years, pine for the possibility of other options for a mate? Do I have secretes to partnered bliss? No, for the first one and last two. There you have it. I find the question annoying because, well, there IS something that changed…and those leaves of change continue to steep, revealing different aromas as the time goes on.

And I don’t quite know how to describe the new fragrances. I don’t have words yet for them.

Read More…

Pat Conroy’s House

By on Dec 31, 2014 in Astral, Featured, Temporal | 0 comments

I went to Pat Conroy’s house last night (to check on him because his wife, authoress Cassandra King, was out of town. Shh. Don’t tell). I let myself into the house, as usual. Poured myself a glass of wine (cause let’s face it: their wine is better than mine), and started looking for him. He’s not in the living room. Not in the TV room. Not in the library. Not in the back room. He’s not in his study. Ok, then, I think, he’s either asleep or on the upstairs porch—the one that over looks the water and the oak tree that I am certain contains more wisdom and grace than most of us combined.

Read More…


By on Nov 18, 2014 in Temporal | 2 comments

I have a number of things to say about this past week (no surprise there). The first is that my former dissertation chair and current boss at IAS said to me, when I wanted to schedule meetings the week after the weeding, “No, trust me. You will need more than a week.”

In my naiveté and slight arrogance, I thought, “Uh, no I don’t. It’s just a party and celebration, and Jonathan and I have been married for centuries.” Yes, I said that. We have. We both remember. Some iterations of “us” were better than others—in particular those in which we didn’t kill each other or abandon one another. This is one of the best ones. And yes, there is a fable coming about it. Anyway, here’s what I underestimated and observed, and why I should probably listen to my always-wise former dissertation chair…

Read More…