Have you ever thought that maybe you should just let them go?
In the introduction of Educated by Tara Westover, the author is careful to write “This story is not about Mormonism. Neither is it about any other form of religious belief” but after reading the book, I wonder how anyone could not think that Mormonism (or any faith that is patriarchal) not be a big part of the story? When a child is taught in Sunday school and by her father that “in the fullness of time God would restore polygamy, and in the afterlife, she (sic) would be a plural wife,” the message is clear, even to a child: submit and behave according to our standards and you can be a part of this family. Do otherwise, and you are a sinner and unwelcome. Read more
The Unwinding of the Miracle
When serious illness strikes the young, we are often drawn to their story while feeling thankful a different fate awaits us. Such was how I felt when I read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow, and When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.
In Pausch’s book, the authors focused on big life lessons after Pausch was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer while Kalanithi’s book focused on how he spent the limited amount of time he had left, which included living in the moment with the people – his wife, daughter, parents, brothers, friends, and colleagues – who made his life meaningful, after being diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer at the age of 37. Read more
It’s been said that we don’t change when we see the light, but when we feel the heat.
Those are the words of Dr. Garth Davis, MD – a board-certified surgeon – who specializes in bariatric surgery in Asheville, NC. Prior to moving to Asheville in 2018, Dr. Davis was the medical director of the Davis Clinic at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. A graduate of University of Texas in Austin, and the Baylor School of Medicine, Dr. Davis completed his surgical residency at the University of Michigan. Read more
Jonathan Franzen Is Really The Great American Essayist
He’s not the richest or the most famous. His characters don’t solve mysteries, have magical powers or live in the future…but he shows us the way we live now.
Lev Grossman wrote those words for the cover of the August 23, 2010 cover of Time magazine, calling Jonathan Franzen “the great American novelist.” In the midst of the great recession when most people were thinking about the economy, unemployment, and the sinking real estate market, America needed a hero and with the recent publication of Franzen’s fourth novel, Freedom, Time magazine found their guy but fell short of naming him “Man of the Year” for writing what most critics considered great literature. Read more
The Girl Who Smiled Beads
I am here. I need you to see me. I need you to see that I am here. You, world, cannot make me crumble. I am alive. I am alive. I am alive.
Clemantine Wamariya was born in 1988 in Rwanda and led an idyllic childhood until 1994, when civil war broke out between the Tutsi and Hutu (the two main groups of people residing in the country). Clemantine, six years old at the time, and her 15-year old sister, Claire were sent to live with their grandmother in the southern region of the country but when the war spread, the two young girls began a 6 year journey migrating through seven South African countries before being granted refugee status in the United States in 2000. Read more
The Destiny Thief
The Destiny Thief is a collection of essays (9) on writing, writers, and life by Richard Russo. Readers may recognize Russo, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for Empire Falls and also wrote Nobody’s Fool and the follow-up Everybody’s Fool, Mohawk, The Risk Pool, Straight Man, The Whore’s Child, and That Old Cape Magic, but for those who have not read his works, the best way to describe Russo’s books is to say they are authentic, real, and so well written. So how did he do it? By living the life he was meant to live. Read more
You Play the Girl
Strategic girls manage perception; idealistic girls go up against the narrative, because it’s at the root of the problem, and they get crushed every time. ~Carina Chocano
When I was a young girl (maybe 12 or 13), I watched my mother get up early one Sunday morning and drive down to Walter’s Bakery (the local bakery known for their doughnuts, brownies, and New York-style streusel coffee cake) to buy a bag of glazed, powdered, and jelly doughnuts. She returned home, bag in hand and put the doughnuts on a plate and promptly delivered them upstairs to my five brothers who were in bed.
The problem with this extremely kind gesture is that it was Mother’s Day – that one day a year when fathers and kids are supposed to wait on mom, instead of the other way around. Even back then as a child I thought it was insane for a mother to bring her five sons fresh doughnuts in bed, especially on Mother’s Day. Where’s the justice? There wasn’t any…and that was the problem with growing up female in most homes in the 50’s, 60’s. and 70’s. Read more
The Perfect Gift: This Is Water
David Foster Wallace – the author of Infinite Jest, The Pale King, and Consider the Lobster- was not known as a dispenser of advice but in 2005 when he gave the commencement address (a speech that is most often associated with giving recent grads one last dose of advice) at Kenyon College entitled This is Water, he nailed it.
Standing in front of an audience of 22-year olds and their proud families, Wallace didn’t tell the graduates to follow their passion or dreams; instead he told the audience how important it is to live a compassionate life where we consider the people around us instead of ourselves. The words make the pursuit of happiness seem so easy (just be considerate!) but when you really think about the daily processes that define our lives, it’s not so simple because we’re not hard-wired to think of anyone but ourselves most of the time. Read more
The country that separates fathers and sons has disoriented many travelers.
Many Americans associate Libya with the September 11, 2012 uprising in Benghazi where Islamic militants attacked the American consulate killing the US Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens and three others. To better understand Libya and the historical events that define its tumultuous past, it is helpful to know the following: Read more