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A vocation need not be learned at vocational school. A week ago, Jennifer Mascia noted for the New York Times that “while there may be a dearth of federal dollars going into gun violence research, journalists are attempting to fill the gap.” Mascia refers to a Cleveland, Ohio publication’s database of shooting deaths, though her own post is part of that project.

A few weeks ago, Ana asked me where I’d choose to work if I knew I’d get any job for which I applied. I said NPR, thinking also of PRI and Vox and Syria Deeply and anyone and everyone else seeking out and publicizing information thoughtfully, intentionally, and thoroughly. Journalism. That’s a key element of “gospel,” isn’t it? You can’t tell what’s good without telling what’s bad, and vice versa.

Also posted in on art | Comments Off on Vocation.


Enlightenment, understood in the widest sense as the advance of thought, has always aimed at liberating human beings from fear and installing them as masters. Yet the wholly enlightened earth is radiant with triumphant calamity.
Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become
       the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
       and he will reign for ever and ever.”
Revelation 11:15, New International Version

Still immersed in Fitzgerald for a paper drawn out long past the end of the semester, and I don’t mind at all. So good.

Also posted in music, on art, photographs, quotations | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Made whole.

We’re a houseful of bloggers these days, me and Sarah and Hannah bedding among nurses and other artists in one house. The two of them both have much more seen and to say than me. I’m in awe of them . . .

Last night, Sarah checked in on me in my room. I was sitting on the top of a bunk-bed frame, staring at nothing with my computer and a tall plastic mug of tea and a half-drunk beer and a pile of papers arrayed around me. Our mattresses were on the floor blocking the door, where they’ve been for the past two weeks because the bed’s so creaky. Startled by the scene, she asked how I was. I tried to answer, speaking very slowly, but I sobbed through my words anyway. And so she collapsed onto my mattress to look at me as I wiped my eyes raw.

It has been a perfectly all-right semester, but I’ve been pretty terrible throughout it. This fall, the depression had reappeared, incited by a rough summer. It chained me to my bed and in my empty head. I didn’t want to go anywhere, do anything, or see almost anyone. I was unkind and selfish and rude to the people I did see, fighting over whatever I could. It’s difficult to reach the end of the semester now and be so so sorry and so regretful and not know at all how or whether anything can be fixed.

Sarah talked, awhile. So well; so kindly. Later that evening she sent me a song to hear and read, and I thought of the Prodigal Son and all that meant to me and still does. It means a lot. Things will be okay.

I think coming up on Christmas is a good place to be; it will be a good several final days of Advent to think before the holiday once I get out of school. Things might, in the spring, be more okay then; will be more okay than I think.

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You shall.

Last fall, I wrote a piece on Jewish life at Penn, about Christianity and Judaism and about faith and religion. You can read it now online via Penn Filament: Hear, O Israel. Enjoy.

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Since the third or fourth week of Ana, I’ve been thinking about shook foil.

Also posted in human beings, photographs, quotations | Tagged , | Comments Off on Levity.