Issue 32

the RUMINATE blog

Trusting the Eyes

Trusting the Eyes

I look amidst the room at the PhD candidates, published writers, and all around brilliant human beings and want to put my head on the table. I’ve spent half the semester feeling out of place and the other half questioning if I am one of them—a writer. As an MA student in literature, the scholar constitutes the external, but internally, I imagine myself with a typewriter and the next provoking literary masterpiece.

Thus, I find myself in a graduate prose seminar.

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Starting My Long Goodbye: On Grief and Death

Starting My Long Goodbye: On Grief and Death

I call myself a cynical realist—meaning I don’t always look at the bright side or the silver lining or sing about the glass being half full. I figure it’s better to prepare for the worst, like how after my grandmother’s congestive heart failure scare, I grieved for two weeks as if she had died, crying silently into my pillow at night until my throat hurt.

My grandmother lived for a few more years in steadily declining health, and when I got the call from my mother that she had passed away one week before Christmas, I didn’t cry. Read More »

Show & Tell: Nothing New Under the Sun

Show & Tell: Nothing New Under the Sun

I keep feeling like I need to tell you something.

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On Teaching, Learning, and the Insidious Nature of Bad Christian Art

On Teaching, Learning, and the Insidious Nature of Bad Christian Art

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” —1 Corinthians 13:11

In the wake of another laughable movie version of one of the worst examples of Christian kitsch in recent decades, I am mostly smiling at the uniformly horrible reviews (which I hope discourage future similar works) and spending my time and money on good art, which always abounds.

Yet, because I’m a person of faith and a writer and reader, I fear that someone might associate me with the kitsch. It’s important to me to both distance myself from it and articulate why: not because it’s merely tacky or lowbrow, but because it’s far more insidious.

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The Value of an Ordinary Life

The Value of an Ordinary Life

In the war between the Yellow Jackets and the Gardner, the victory undeniably went to the winged beasties. I—said gardener—devised stealth attacks, striking nests in the cool of morning, double fisting cans of pesticide. Even so, I adopted a “flee after four stings” retreat strategy. And despite my best efforts at controlling pests near populated buildings, I confidently assert that there are just as many nests and aggressive airborne minions as when I began.

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Writing Towards the Messy

Writing Towards the Messy

Last semester, the writer Bret Lott visited my crew of undergraduate creative writers at a small, private, religious university in the South. He fielded questions—“What’s your writing process like? How do you get ideas for stories? Do your characters haunt your dreams?”—and then I let loose the question I most wanted them to hear answered:

How do you feel about the term Christian writer?’”

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