The Writer and Leisure

Posted by Allan on November 29, 2013

leisure.jpgPope Francis converses with two Argentinian journalists on “his life in his own words” in a new book released this week by Putnam (Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words. 2013).

New York Times reviewer Mark Oppenheimer says the conversations reveal “cute facts” about the new Pope but “not much interesting theology.”
 
Oppenheimer is sharp enough, however, to see a slight “radical note” in the pontiff’s words. That note, which has to do with faith at ease, lies in Pope Francis’ admonition for us to “relax.” 
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Truth and beauty in Prison

Posted by Priscilla on November 13, 2013

prison.jpgThe first time I went to prison, I was fifty-four. I’m not sure what I expected. Maybe spiffy armed guards standing stiffly by remote controlled doors. Maybe gleaming tile walls whose smooth surfaces offered no handholds for escapees. Or maybe I expected respect for the outsider, the good person.

The prison is tired, as if it must sigh and gather its strength to greet me. Its age shows. The walls are gray. The guard’s desk is gray. The lockers are gray. Into one locker goes my phone. And my book. Then my belt. Finally, I take off my sweater with metal buttons, stuff it on top of the belt and slam the door.

I sit down on the gray plastic chair in a sea of grey plastic and wait. I wait for guards to go down to the cells. I wait for my number to come up, for my name to be called. In prison we all wait. The prison doesn’t care that I, or you, or anyone else, readers all, cannot wait without reading. They care only for protocol. The prison doesn’t care that time passes. The guard ignores the clock. He is bored, but cannot work up enough energy to look at his list and cross off names as those ahead of me are called.

The others are used to this.  They sit, sullen, heads down. Some sleep. I watch my shoes, trying to read their shape. I wait some more.

Three hours are gone forever before my name is called.

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The Power of Introverts Squared

Posted by Priscilla on November 6, 2013

Introverts of the world, take heart.

As many may already know, Susan Cain shows up the extrovert power block in American society by proving how much we gain from the introvert and how much we lose by structuring our lives and workplaces as if extroverts were more important. If you’re an introvert, and you haven’t read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, do so.

Creative men and women are often introverts. Artists, musicians, writers, woodworkers are most apt to check the “I am drained by being with groups of people” and the “I like to work alone” boxes.  We check those boxes because we really do like our own company and because it really does take quiet and space to create.

But an old proverb says “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow . . .” So what’s an introvert to do? 

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Dreams

Posted by Priscilla on October 22, 2013

dream.jpgNo one knows better what happens to a dream deferred than the graduate of Martin Luther King High School, who enters ninth grade full of plans for the future and leaves with little chance of affording college or securing more than a low-wage job. The ironies startle.

Writ large on the outside of the school named for the man with the Dream are the plaintive questions of Langston Hughes.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up 


like a raisin in the sun? 


Or fester like a sore-- 


And then run? 


Does it stink like rotten meat? 


Or crust and sugar over-- 


like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags 


like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

What does happen when a dream, your dream is deferred? What happens to the dream? What happens to you?

 

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