Book Reviews, Spirituality, Travel

Jumping Over Shadows

I'll admit there was probably no way I wasn't going to love Annette Gendler's 2017 memoir Jumping Over Shadows. I'm a sucker for cross-cultural romances, and for international dramas liberally sprinkled with phrases in foreign languages--especially when those languages are French, German, and Hebrew. And I can't remember ever reading a novel or memoir of Jewish… Continue reading Jumping Over Shadows

Book Reviews, Parapsychology, Spirituality

The Hand on the Mirror

Less than four years after their wedding, Janis Heaphy Durham's husband Max passed away from cancer. Durham was a spiritual person, raised in the Presbyterian church and blessed with a strong faith in God, but even if she suspected that death was not the end, she was entirely unprepared for what happened next. In fact, I doubt… Continue reading The Hand on the Mirror

Book Reviews, Language, psychology, Spirituality, Travel

The boy who wanted to be a Jew

Julius Lester writes in his book Lovesong: Becoming a Jew that as a young black boy growing up in the American South his favorite piece to play on the piano was Kol Nidre, the song that opens the observance of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. "When I stop playing," he writes, "there is a painful yearning in my stomach,… Continue reading The boy who wanted to be a Jew

Book Reviews, near-death experience, Parapsychology, Spirituality

Promised by Heaven

At 21, Mary Helen Hensley had a near-death experience in which she not only saw a play-by-play review of her current life, but she suddenly remembered all the lives she'd lived before. As the daughter of a Baptist minister, she didn't even have reincarnation on her radar. But there it was, portrayed in heaven as a reality. There are… Continue reading Promised by Heaven

Book Reviews, Parapsychology, Spirituality

The Angel in My Pocket

When I picked up Sukey Forbes' new memoir, The Angel in My Pocket, my first thought was, "Oh, another memoir about grief." It's not that I don't appreciate grief-focused memoirs. In fact, they've been a lifeline for me in the four years since losing my ex-fiancé. Even though my own loss was due to separation, not death, I've found comfort and… Continue reading The Angel in My Pocket

Book Reviews, Homesteading

A Life in Mud

There are not many books I’ve read more than once. While my appetite for the written word is pretty much insatiable, I'm generally hungry for something new. Fortunately, this is not as much of a vice in reading as it would be in other spheres of life. But every now and then, a book comes along that inspires in me a… Continue reading A Life in Mud

Writing

Turns Out, Fun Is Essential to Writing

Whether you're an aspiring or accomplished writer, you've likely had moments (or years at a time) when you've worried that you just didn't have what it takes. I certainly have. I'm a very methodical and analytic person, and for a long time, I thought that these personality traits might prevent me from ever producing a compelling piece of… Continue reading Turns Out, Fun Is Essential to Writing

Book Reviews, Writing

The Baltimore Review

The Summer 2014 issue of The Baltimore Review is now available online. On its site, you can read not only one of my recent flash nonfiction pieces, "Cop Cars," but also some excellent poetry and fiction from writers around the country. My favorite pieces from this issue include: Vincent Poturica's short story "Habte," about an Eritrean immigrant at a child's… Continue reading The Baltimore Review

Book Reviews, Travel

Swedish Lessons

My favorite part of reading blogs is discovering extremely gifted writers whose self-published books I might never otherwise have heard of. My most recent ecstatic find is Natalie Burg, author of the hilarious, page-turning memoir Swedish Lessons. An ambitious but slightly directionless 23-year-old fresh out of a soul-crushing romantic relationship, Burg is offered a position as… Continue reading Swedish Lessons

Daily Life

Scandalously Happy

I am scandalously happy. The sun is setting in a pink sky, the May breeze is turning slightly cool, and I'm sitting on my front steps gazing at the abandoned field just beyond my front lawn and reveling in this surprising truth that unveiled itself moments ago. Why 'scandalously', you ask? Well, because it's kind of a scandal to be happy in… Continue reading Scandalously Happy