Holy Week and the Best of Intentions

Peter’s betrayal of Jesus has always seemed so predictable to me. Jesus just told you that you would betray him! Weren’t you listening? But this Palm Sunday, I saw Peter differently. Before, I’ve always seen Peter skulking in the courtyard, afraid of being recognized. But what if Peter were in the courtyard because he was trying to stay as close...

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Holy Week and The Other

Most likely, you know that Barabbas, in contrast to Jesus, was a real criminal. I admit I must have conflated him with the two bandits who were crucified with Jesus, because only this Palm Sunday did I hear his actual crime. According to Mark, Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who committed murder during the insurrection. The insurrection,...

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Holy Week and Money

For fifty years, I’ve attended Palm Sunday services. Every service has featured a Passion Play. This Palm Sunday, thanks to the presentation co-produced by Virginia Ralph, I heard something different. Actually, I heard many things differently. I’ll share them with you this Holy Week, beginning with the anointing of Jesus. I’d always heard this...

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No Room for Error

The bamboo rises in the yard with the hump of a sea serpent. Angling the shovel, I break its spine. A neighbor planted the bamboo—on the property line. For the longest time I told myself she’d sunk a barrier around it. Surely no one would plant invasive, destructive bamboo on the property line without consulting the neighbor. The yards in Harbor...

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It Is Impossible

I have been obsessing with the news on Trayvon Martin, watching every TV spot, reading every on-line post, shushing Tom so I can hear every radio interview. What I am watching, listening, waiting for? For someone to say it is impossible. Impossible in any state under any law in this country to pursue an unarmed young man, shoot him, and call...

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The (True) Story of the Giraffe and Lambkins

Then there was the time when I was lying on the floor playing with Aubrey and Giselle the French Giraffe (whose real name was Sophie the French Giraffe but I didn’t know that at the time) and I kept using this horrible French/Mexican accent for the Giraffe which would have been okay (Aubrey is only nine months old) except I was there on the floor...

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Some Ways We are Different from Some Other People

we don’t use the dishwasher we don’t use the clothes dryer we leave the windows open we drink tap water, we drink almond milk, we eat barley we build fires in the fireplace we keep a compost bucket on the kitchen counter we travel with a bonsai tree, Mr. Tree we hang out on Beale Street we let Tom be our everyday cook we say “runned,” as in “I...

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I am Afraid of McDonald’s Chicken

It’s spreading. Once I saw that pink slime, I would never, ever again eat a McNugget. Didn’t matter if the ammonia claim wasn’t true. A distinction, as they say, without a difference. Then I saw the blender video—hack, hack, whirl, whirl—and every piece of chicken that wasn’t immediately recognizable as a bird became suspect. (Several weeks ago...

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Mississippi in Mexico in Mississippi

An Interview with Carlos Fuentes by Lois Parkinson Zamora Hotel Amerika 2011 LPZ: Just one last thing: what about Faulkner? CF: Well, you know for us, Latin American literature begins with the Mississippi, with Faulkner . . . We read his novels and felt that our Latin American territory began in Mississippi. Q: I, a girl sprawled on her uncle’s...

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Wildly Improbable Goals

The Advocate began with a grant. One of our stated goals was: “Use the arts to change perceptions of people who have experienced homelessness.” How, the application asked, will you evaluate whether you’ve been a success? In a moment of honesty, I said to June Averyt, who was the Executive Director, “I want them to read our work and appoint one...

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