L’Abri Fellowship: A Vulnerable but Secure Shelter

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Perhaps more than anything, L’Abri Fellowship provides a space that invites, encourages, even fosters vulnerability. It is almost impossible to explain what L’Abri is in one word—or even one succinct phrase. Its name means “shelter” in French—and the word has a rich, multilayered meaning. Francis and Edith Schaeffer began the work of L’Abri in 1955 in Huémoz, Switzerland as their home became an open space for dialogue and honest questions for the locals and friends of their children. Word spread quickly, and L’Abri was born as a communal study center, a home open to any who want to come and seek answers to life’s big questions. Read More

Chiasmus

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Watch what happens in this lovely poem by Karen An-Hwei Lee:

Dream of Ink Brush Calligraphy

In prayer:

quiet opening,

my artery is a thin

shadow on paper—

margin of long grass,

ruderal hair, sister to this

not yet part of our bodies

your lyric corpus of seed

in rough drafts of pine ash,

chaogao or grass calligraphy

in rough drafts of pine ash—

your lyric corpus of seed

not yet part of our bodies:

ruderal hair, sister to this

margin of long grass,

shadow on paper,

my artery is a thin

quiet opening

in prayer.        

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A Better Way to Fail

Colorado. 1955.

 

The crumpled piece of paper had gotten stuck in the back corner of the cubby, wedged into a gap in the cherry veneer. I had been slowly working my way across the row of shelving, clearing out the academic residue of another sixth grade year. With a bit of wrangling the paper came loose, unfolding to reveal an old Latin quiz I had given my students months earlier. Read More

Radical Correspondence

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We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us.

– William Butler Yeats

I was twenty when I learned what is essential about metaphors. The poet Albert Goldbarth asked his introductory class to open the bundle of photocopied poems he’d made, and directed us to a page that lay, purposefully out of time, between Wordsworth and Sappho. Upon it were twenty words by Gregory Orr:

Washing My Face

Last night’s dreams disappear.
They are like the sink draining:
a transparent rose swallowed by its stem.

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Bright and Shining

MICHIGAN BAND
I finished revising my debut novel and graduated from an MFA program in the same month. I am tired. I don’t want to read. I don’t want to write. Of course, one of the first apocryphal rules you learn when you start writing is do it every day. Put that butt in the chair and fashion yourself after the Postal Service. Snow? Sleet? Debilitating fatigue? Doesn’t matter. Put those words down, son. Read More