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the RUMINATE blog

Process: The Night Sea Journey Part

Process: The Night Sea Journey Part

“What was your writing process with this poem?” Recently, I froze when a fellow woman-poet asked me this in a writing workshop.

I was thinking, “Well, I email myself a poem draft 45 times after each minute revision in a different font, and pretend it’s from a poet-friend-far-away. But that’s a quirk, not process, right?”

Then, she said, “You need to articulate how you write. Do you walk in the woods reciting your poems, figuring out the downbeats? Do you internalize your rhythms? Do you black out found texts?” Read More »

The Simple Life

The Simple Life

The simple life. We long for it. Pursue it. Theologize it. Downward mobility, simplicity, reconnecting to the earth—whether the waves are driven by social justice, nostalgia, or ecology— a major current of culture runs toward the simple life.

Because this is America (land of the me and home of the crave), our cultural currents appear on the radars of markets. What’s selling now? Anything green—which means cardboard packaging with one-color soy ink. Thrift stores (re-use centers!). Movies where superheroes of former generations inhabit didactic binary worlds. Co-ops; but not belonging to them—just shopping there. Read More »

On Being Strangers with Your Spouse

On Being Strangers with Your Spouse

Today is my parents’ anniversary. They have been married for 38 years. So, I asked my mom if, after all that time, she felt like she knew my dad entirely, like there was nothing new she could learn about him. Luckily, her answer supported my thesis. She replied: “Definitely not. How could I when people continually grow and change?” Read More »

Bases Loaded

Bases Loaded

My three-year-old son and I have spent a lot of time in the front yard this summer, him up by the steps doing his baseball windup in profile, a swift swaying of his arms front to back, front to back, before his pitch, which on a good throw bounces thrice along the sidewalk before hitting my glove.

When I bounce it back, he tends to dive for it right before he shifts to slow motion, looking pensive, going inward, rising first to his knees and then to his full height (36 inches). He starts peering into the bushes while I stand quietly by the street pounding my fist into the leather glove I wore when I sucked at little league, the one I uncovered in basement storage and now constricts my hand into a kind of finger cylinder. Read More »

Keeping Awake

Keeping Awake

“The Spiritual life is, then, first of all a matter of keeping awake.” -Thomas Merton

I’ve been looking for structure, something to push back the chaotic hustle, busyness, and multitasking that can be so wearing. Somewhere I read a quote from a monastic who said multitasking was a kind of violence against the soul, and I remember being shocked by the severity of those words—especially in a world, okay my world, that honors efficiency and productivity—but I also remember feeling the truth of those words. Read More »

All About Birds

All About Birds

The yellow-throated warbler prefers tall trees. It lives in the canopies of the highest stands of pine trees in swampy areas for the most part. It is a songbird, a warbler, called so because of the trilling melodies it produces. When it rained hard on our property in Tennessee, the spring fed creek bed would fill, the land around it becoming soupy, the slopes turning slippery. Before a storm the birds would go silent. I would sit and watch from my porch as the clouds rolled in from the north and the west.  But after the storm, the first sound that pierced the air no matter what time of day or night was the birdsong.  Read More »