New writing

I have several new essays up at The Samizdat for all of you to check out.

Here you can read about the laundromat, an old woman, and a murderous priest.

Here’s one about the grand spaces and minor kingdoms of my tenth year.

And the newest is about a girl I once knew, and don’t anymore.


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Stories We Tell

Today at The Samizdat I’m sharing some reflections on Sarah Polley’s amazing documentary Stories We Tell. Come on over and check it out.

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Only Lovers Left Alive

Today at The Samizdat I’m reviewing Jim Jarmusch’s vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive. Come on over and check it out. If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Top Ten Films of the 1960s

Today at The Samizdat I’m sharing my ten favorite films of the 1960s in response to a recent poll at movie mezzanine. Come on over and disagree with me!

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Creation and the Angry Ism

“For two and a half decades I brushed aside the mountain of evidence and scientific consensus surrounding evolution and a very old universe as just so much atheist deception. It’s honestly embarrassing to admit how recent that was, but if you didn’t grow up in fundamentalist Christianity, or in any other fundamentalist religious tradition, it’s impossible to explain to you how powerful are the pressures of belief, how convincing the explanations provided when your eternal soul depends upon them. I am not as far removed as I’d like to be from a time when I believed in a young earth, when sinners washed in the blood of the lamb or burned in his wrath, when God himself was red of tooth and claw. The unraveling of my belief was both rapid and torturously slow. It started with Calvinism, tearing apart my image of a good god like the tornado we all feared while growing up in a trailer park, and found its foothold in science.”

My essay at The Samizdat today is about growing up in the young earth creationism movement and how I moved away from it in my twenties. Come on over and share your thoughts and questions, and if you’ve had a similar experience, please share your story in the comments there!

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Farewell to a candy shop

A month later, another Wednesday, and this time a church volleyball game in the middle of town, a block from Broadway. We play the bizarre games church children invent when the grown ups are occupied, rules so strange and rigid, and she and I are a team because we say so, and we take on all challengers in the semi-darkness of the brick alley. Olley olley oxen free and there’s yet another ghost in the graveyard. My shirt has a mastodon skeleton on the front.

Head on over to The Samizdat to read the rest!

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Shilo when I was young

I remember walking home filthy and wrung out from a day fully lived. I was maybe five, the evening perhaps seven. It was magic hour, the light fading and everything softened and aglow. I walked by the front of the trailer and heard the song through the windows, and then I walked into the living room. The memory stops there, and isn’t much by itself. What came before it is more interesting. I had been in the swamps.

My essay today at The Samizdat is about my earliest musical memory and the role an unlikely musician played in my early childhood. Check it out!

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On Staring as Vocation

I’ve got a new essay up at The Samizdat. Today I’m looking at two great underappreciated films and using them to discuss solitude and observation in the life of the writer. Come on over and check it out.

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A Reasonable Life

Hello, all you beautiful people who bizarrely have never dropped your subscriptions in the last two years of silence here. Beginning today I will be writing a weekly post for The Samizdat. For the time being I will continue to post links here to those weekly posts, but I encourage everyone to subscribe to The Samizdat. Today’s piece is about life after faith. Check it out!

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On community: food for thought (guest post by Erin Compton)

I’m honored to have the inimitable Erin Compton writing for me today. Erin’s blog showcases her brave and astute writing about a variety of topics, from depression to the loss of the sacred feminine in modern Christianity to struggling to connect with a church. Check out her site after you read her post below on the healing power of breaking bread together.


I am a firm believer in the power of food, and I’m pretty sure Jesus was too.

I sincerely believe something spiritual happens when you share a meal with someone, a bond is created in the mutual filling of bellies that for some reason cannot be replicated as effectively over such a short period of time. It is part of the reason that I fully support any Eucharist that is accompanied by an actual feast rather than just a bit of cracker and a sip of grape derived beverage.

In my experience with intentional communities and home churches, food was central. Creating the meal that we would share together was a huge part of our gathering, from deciding what we would make, to figuring out who would bring what ingredients to actually preparing the meal together, the opening of all our Sunday gatherings revolved around food.

Creating a meal together involved a certain amount of contribution and cooperation. It was a solid activity that reminded us in a physical way that we relied on each other for a basic need, to fill our hunger at the very least. Everyone became aware of one another’s basic dietary allergies, likes and dislikes and cared for one another by providing something everyone could eat. Even if we gathered with low blood sugar and nasty tempers as a result, by the time all our plates had been cleared we were in a better mindset to discuss scripture, to disagree amicably, and to support one another.

So naturally when I think about what community means within the church, the faith, the followers of Jesus, I think about food. One of my friends recently shared this quote with me that has been accredited to another spiritual guidepost, the Buddha: “If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.” Speaking from experience, it is very hard to stay irritated with someone you’ve shared food with. I’m aware it happens from time to time, but I also know that sharing food with people I have been in conflict with has been incredibly healing.

I think there is a reason that Jesus’ final goodbyes were said over a meal, I think there is a purpose to loaves and fishes and dining with drunkards, prostitutes and tax collectors, and I think it has something to do with the fact that God knows that our stomachs are intrinsically connected our hearts.

Be blessed, (and fed!).

Posted in Faith, Friendship, Guest Posts, Intentional Community | 2 Comments