The Great American Eclipse: What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name? Juliet tells Romeo that nothing’s in a name. “That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet,” she says. And even Hamlet seems dismissive in his “words, words, words.” But after the Great American Eclipse, I must rebuff the beautiful maiden and challenge the churlish prince.Continue reading “The Great American Eclipse: What’s in a Name?”

From the Forge: The Humanity of Anton Chekov

  Anton Chekov The Russian writer Anton Chekov is widely recognized as a master of short fiction. It is interesting that many people seem to dislike Chekov’s short stories because they tend to be open ended, lacking a comfortable, reassuring resolution. But Chekov’s place in the pantheon is secure. His influence on later writers hasContinue reading “From the Forge: The Humanity of Anton Chekov”

Am I in Your Book? Writing Characters from Real Places into Fiction

This is a guest blog post, purely tongue-in-cheek, I did Monday for Darlene Fredette’s blog Finding the Write Words. It considers the ways people respond to being made characters in fiction. It was written for other writers, but I think you’ll enjoy it. Am I In Your Book? When was the last time someone askedContinue reading “Am I in Your Book? Writing Characters from Real Places into Fiction”


I’ve started reading a very engaging book about emotional truth, emotional belief, and its validity. The title pretty much describes the contents–Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity can still make Surprising Emotional Sense, by the well-known British writer Francis Spufford. The book has been hailed widely by critics as a refreshing and challenging treatment of theContinue reading “Unapologetic”

I Don’t Believe in God: God Believes in Me

Nobody really believes in God—Christians or members of any other faith community. Christians who say, “I believe in God,” actually mean, “I believe in a particular construct of God that was formed by a particular sub-culture’s reading of a book called The Bible.” That is all that can honestly be said about belief in God.Continue reading “I Don’t Believe in God: God Believes in Me”

Branagh Ruined My Wallander

Here’s the scene: A detective—about forty, rugged good looks, speaks the Queen’s English as if he were once a broadcaster on BBC radio, dark clothing, fashionable hair, divorced, one daughter with whom he struggles to communicate, aging belligerent father from whom he feels estranged—returns from the scene of a grisly murder. He becomes immobilized byContinue reading “Branagh Ruined My Wallander”

Jesus and the Jewel in the Lotus, Part 2

Continuing with the discussion of Jesus and the Jewel in the Lotus mantra from a few days ago, we have the final three syllables of the mantra (pad-me hum) to consider. If you missed my last post, which considered the first three syllables of the mantra (Om man-i), you can find it here. In thatContinue reading “Jesus and the Jewel in the Lotus, Part 2”

Jesus and The Jewel in the Lotus

One of the most popular Buddhist mantras is known as The Jewel in the Lotus, consisting of a six-syllable phrase that Jesus would have loved. There is some debate about the exact origin of the mantra, but it appeared in Buddhist teachings as early as the 11th or 12th century. A  mantra is like aContinue reading “Jesus and The Jewel in the Lotus”

Fanny Says What? Southern Culture from Nickole Brown

Earlier this year, Southern poet Nickole Brown published Fanny Says, an anthology that has been called “an unleashed love song to her grandmother,” who has left behind a presence as large as the living person. The early sections of the book speak with the voice of Fanny, a grandmother who was larger than life. SomeContinue reading “Fanny Says What? Southern Culture from Nickole Brown”