Gregory Alan Isakov and Rainer Maria Rilke on the Quiet Things of Life

“ Oh blessed rage for order…The maker’s rage to order words of the sea…”   ~ Wallace Stevens One of Augustine of Hippo’s ways of understanding the human heart sounds paradoxical at first: a man can walk around the earth, but he cannot ever circumscribe his own heart. Rather than debate whether or not this is the case, I am going to take this as … Continue reading Gregory Alan Isakov and Rainer Maria Rilke on the Quiet Things of Life

All Goodbyes Are Temporary

One of my favorite places in the world is a little donut shop in Coldwater named Dutch Uncle. By any ordinary standards it isn’t a very nice establishment: The bathroom door only sort-of closes, they serve water in sketchy styrofoam cups (which they have to go back into the kitchen to get because the soda fountain is broken), they only take cash, and the benches … Continue reading All Goodbyes Are Temporary

The Missing Dictionary Entry

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrasal verb “to miss out (on)” is an American colloquialism that arose in the early twentieth century. This meaning of “being deprived of an experience or opportunity” is a relatively new meaning for “miss” in our language; a word that actually dates back to Old English. Originally, “miss” meant “to go wrong, to make a mistake,” which has … Continue reading The Missing Dictionary Entry

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Don Quixote: A tale of Sanity in Times of Madness

This famous  novel written by Miguel de Cervantes is often presented as the story of a man who seems to have lost his mind after reading too many chivalric books and starting to see the world in a distorted way. The adjective “quixotic” is a synonym of “impossible”, “imaginary” or “unrealizable”; denoting the folly of the acts and thoughts of the novel’s protagonist: Don Quixote … Continue reading Don Quixote: A tale of Sanity in Times of Madness

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Measuring Time

There’s this silly, sentimental country song by Tracy Lawrence with the famous chorus, You find out who your friends are  somebody’s gonna drop everything,  Run out and crank up their car, Hit the gas, get there fast, Never stop to think “what’s in it for me?” or “it’s way too far” They just show on up, with their big old heart, You find out who … Continue reading Measuring Time

Berlioz’s Song: A Brief Dialogue on Love and Wanting

Berlioz’s Song: A Brief Dialogue on Love and Wanting Persons: François-the Cynic, and composer Hector Berlioz-the Romantic The Scene: The deck of a ferry, crossing the English Channel to Britain. January, 1831. THE CYNIC. Pardon me, sir, I don’t mean to interrupt your writing, but are you Hector Berlioz? THE ROMANTIC. Ah, yes, I am. Always a pleasure to meet an admirer, please sit down! … Continue reading Berlioz’s Song: A Brief Dialogue on Love and Wanting

The Surrender of Plot: Uncovering the Divinity of Storytelling

I stood in the bookstore, gaping at the vibrant colors and whimsical text scrawled across hardcover book jackets. Each book made a pretty picture on the shelf, but after years of book store prowling, I knew that few, if any, offered much beyond aesthetic. I wandered into the classics section and ran my hand along the spines of compendiums, comprehensive volumes, and special editions. What … Continue reading The Surrender of Plot: Uncovering the Divinity of Storytelling

To Conquer a Virus and Unweave a Rainbow

When the recent coronavirus shut-in hit, and the Michigan governor’s stay-at-home order forced its way through my phone by emergency text message, I took one last fleeting look at my campus office bookshelf for any last-minute tome I might bring with me as I escaped to the safety of my country estate. For a moment that old copy of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy looked like … Continue reading To Conquer a Virus and Unweave a Rainbow