Friday, December 09, 2022

A list of things to write about

I've been teaching a first-year course that centers around close reading and writing. The title of the course is "Women Who See Through Walls" about women poets and mystics and scientists. As part of the thread that links the course together we have been reading selections from Natalie Goldberg's beautiful book Writing Down the Bones. One of the last selections we read was called "A list of things to write about". I haven't had much time to write on the blog the semester, teaching three different courses with three different preps each of with a boatload of grading, along with a couple of other writing assignments, have sucked up all my time. But I have been keeping a list of things to write about!

1. The blessing of sparrow-grass; also some weird word that started with c or g and that I can't figure out where I scribbled it down.

2. Shrikes. OMG, I cannot get a description of these birds and their habits when it comes to food out of my head. Thanks New York Times crossword puzzle.

3. Fingernails. Not the things on the end of your fingers but what my grandmother used to call a particular sort of butter mint. The college bookstore had the peppermint version of these, which I had not seen in years. I bought a bag.

4. It appears that AI can write homilies, but should they? I'm really bothered by the thought.

5. Advent calendars are having a moment. I heard a piece on NPR about them, and there was a piece in the Washington Post. I was struck by someone who said the point was to get rewarded every day that we managed to wait. I'm all about waiting, and leaning in to my desire for the living God in Advent. There is an asceticism to that waiting that I'm loathe to give up. That said I'm also all in on Advent calendars, both those that just have numbers behind the doors and those that might have special treats behind them.

6. There's a whole set of math memes going around riffing on the elf on the shelf. Heard about the elf on a shelf? What about the quadratic in the attic? or X on the T Rex? or the lemniscate on the gate?...tell me you're laughing...

And last but not least, a new book is out which has two of my homilies in it. One for Lent and one for the feast of All Saints. A Prisoner and You Visited Me is part of the Homilists for the Homeless series, put out by Clear Faith press and edited by indomitable deacon Jim Knipper. All of the homilists (which include Fr. Jim Martin and chemist Mags Blackie) have donated their time and writing and all the proceeds from this particular book could help those in prison. You can find the book here!

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