...I didn’t answer; I wish now I had asked why she felt that way. But maybe I knew the answer without asking, an answer on the ready lips even of someone just emerged from childhood. Religion, with its convenient alignment to an unspeakable, unknowable force, is misused, and has been through the millennia...Read More
I recently read Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, which had, for me, not one but two surprise endings ... Picoult’s book is about elephants, too, and uncertainty, regrets and dashed dreams. She even tackles mental illness and the nightmare of living with someone transformed by a change of brain chemistry into an illogical tyrant....Read More
In the past six months, I’ve gone from falling asleep quickly, deeply and comfortably to feeling every night like I’m wedged into a tiny window seat, next to a screaming baby. I’ve tried various remedies: getting up immediately to read on my kindle (which does not require the lighting of a lamp), melatonin, a few sips of brandy, brandy with melatonin. My strategies are not creative....Read More
Several years ago I quoted Tolstoy on my Christmas card. Tolstoy compared writing a book to creating a monster, eventually flung out upon the public by a writer desperate to be rid of it. Tolstoy used this analogy because he lived before the era of Facebook, Twitter, eBooks, and the myriad other means of electronic communication we have at our impulsive fingertips. Writing a book in the new millennium is not like creating a monster. It’s like creating an entire zoo of monsters, all tethered to your computer....Read More
My father tells about a religion professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who gave, year after year, the same final exam: List in order the books of the Bible. Students in pursuit of an easy boost to their grade point averages, of course, clamored for admission to his class. Imagine the chagrin of an unfortunate group he confronted instead, perhaps in a wicked humor, with the much more demanding task, Criticize the acts of Moses....