Tuesday
Sep302008

Yes, exactly.


"Love is an action word."

- Pastor Kenneth Roberts
Anchor of Hope Church
Denver, Colorado

Monday
Sep222008

Feed My Mind: Read!

I’m hungry for books. Banned Books Week is approaching and I am not-so-subtly hoarding good reads to sustain me through the painful reality that others want to keep me – and you – from reading what we choose.

I honestly can’t imagine a life without the books that supported and fed me along the path of childhood, adolescence and into ever-changing adulthood. Can you?

My list of favorite books is always evolving. Here’s a few I love lately:

Ditch-tender by Julia Levine
A stunning poetry collection that is both spare and rich. The California psychotherapist-slash-poet writes in a deep but accessible style that pierces and punctures all the right places.

Dixmont, by Rick Campbell
This Florida poet and professor (and director of Anhinga Press) is a master of the poetic narrative. His latest collection (named after the asylum where his mother once lived) is a great offering of tender insight and wry humor that examines the everyday motions of marriage, parenting, baseball and more.

Torch, by Cheryl Strayed
For her debut novel, the Portland, Oregon writer penned a tugging story of loss. This is a can’t-put-down-book that brought me to tears, and it was chosen as a 2007 "Everybody Reads - Portland" selection.

What are you reading? Let’s celebrate Banned Books Week with a feast of words & ideas that make life rich, ripe and meaningful.

Wednesday
Sep172008

Telling

I’m not a fan of the memoir. All that disclosure. All that self-absorbed recall. In this age of tell-all and tell it well, my tastes seem woefully out of step.

When it comes to reading for pleasure (and what other kind of reading is there, really?), I want my books full of characters and tone, and a plot that offers discovery, even a painfully beautiful reckoning. I don’t go for the light stuff (too often) but I don’t want real life – the memoir -- to intrude on my mental adventure.

So it is with great surprise that I find myself immersed in Telling, A Memoir of Rape and Recovery by Patricia Weaver Francisco.

It is painful and searing and so beautifully written that I read it in almost one sitting. I only put the book down so I could step away to breathe. When the book was published in 1999, it was hailed as sad and wise, with writing both lyrical and electrifying.

Days before I turned the first page, I circled the book with apprehension, afraid to dive into such sorrow. But in just the first chapter, I was clinging to a life raft of pain, my knuckles worn and grateful. Weaver Francisco said she wrote this book for “the men and women who are friends and spouses and fathers and sisters of rape survivors. It's a terribly difficult position to be in. Most of us have no idea what happens to a woman afterward, what to expect or what a survivor might need. We don't even know what questions to ask.”

I still don’t know. But I feel closer to the conversation now. With Telling, a heavy door has opened just enough to offer a slice of thin light.

Wednesday
Sep172008

Fall: fog, thick and cold


Still


Drew Myron

At midnight, we're still talking,
trying on our better selves.
We bandage our flaws, hold
fragile knowledge in warm hands.

Tuesday
Sep092008

You Reading This . . .

What took me so long to find William Stafford?

He is an Oregon icon, a Pacific Northwest treasure, and a prolific writer respected on a national scale (said to have written a poem each day, for decades). He passed away in 1993 but he left us with nearly 50 books of poetry and thousands of poems.

Here's one of my favorites:

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life —

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

— William Stafford
From The Way It Is
Graywolf Press, St. Paul, 1998