Forget Red vs. Blue, America is Cactus vs. Philodendron
Is there a direct causal connection between America’s embrace of succulents and semi-succulents as houseplants-of-choice and the conspicuous mass movement of Americans to states with the least amount of rainfall? Maybe not, but the correlation gives us strong cause to consider.
Remembering Irving Petite, “Issaquah’s Thoreau”
Today the man described as “Issaquah’s Thoreau” is largely forgotten. His books have been out of print for years and the anniversary of what would have been his 100th birthday in 2020 passed without a single mention in any local newspapers. An unfitting end for a man who poured so much soul into his writing about a small place he loved. In truth, in an era when more and more books and media are exclusively focused on the national and international, Petite’s focus on the local scale of life is not only refreshing but downright astounding.
Living When We Are: A Review of Brisbane
Vodolazkin's novels do for Time what Wendell Berry does for Space: We can't just live where we are, we have to live when we are, too. So thanks to Vodolazkin for the timely reminder. And requiescat in pace, Jack: thanks for doing just that.
Actions Speak Louder than Words, or a Midwestern Accent
On return trips to Illinois, or when talking to relatives on the phone, I can tell the difference. Life is a little slower where I grew up, and the people are often more polite and considerate of others. I know from experience how considerate they can be.
Tending a Rooted Congregation: A Review of The Power of Place
If “church” is the body of Christ in its local manifestation, where each and every member is connected to one another and everyone knows each other’s names and stories, have cried together and laughed together, worshipped together, served together, prayed together, argued together, eaten together, and attended each other’s family funerals, then church becomes a place and community that is life-transformative in the manner that Grothe advocates.
When Foot Voting is Necessary: A Review of Free to Move
It would be nice if Somin would see migration (national and international) as a remedy for intolerable situations, a lesser evil, not a desirable thing in itself. Those who aren’t oppressed or impoverished but are tempted to leave their ancestral homes through ambition or restlessness, might stop and think.
Scenes of Arrival, Stories of Home
Here are three novels about three places in the world. Each conveys not just a perfunctory setting but a web of topography, livelihoods, pastimes, and lore. And in each the experience of arriving at that place endures in memory and self-understanding.
Buddy from Belfast: Pondering How to Belong
Belfast is a lovely movie for remembering the power that places have in defining who we are and the beauty of belonging well, even to a broken place.
The Road Taken
Sometimes an important change becomes evident only in retrospect - not while it’s happening across quiet broken days alone in a house while autumn succumbs to shadow and cold.
Making Meaning in the Haunted Midwest
Those of us committed to the Midwest and its literature can and should mourn the damages done to our region by our habits of transience. But we must also recognize, as these two books help us do, that it is not just the Midwest, but life itself, that is “fluid and impermanent.”