13 November 2017

Reflections on the Road: Coal Towns


Image result for shamokin paI drove over 246 miles on Saturday to attend a funeral. I-76, I-476, I-78, Rt. 901, Rt. 61, Rt. 54., Rt. 487, back and forth, winding through mountains with just enough color on them to still be beautiful.  - - Well, mountains are always beautiful, but you know what I mean. - - I traveled to this destination often as a child, nauseated by the twisting elevation. I remember once pulling off into the Ace Hardware parking lot, just in time to vomit into an empty orange juice bottle in the car. Now, in the driver's seat, I managed to keep nausea at bay. Coming from Philadelphia, my journey up through Pennsylvania was entirely different than the one from my Maryland childhood, but the destination was still the same: my Dad's hometown.

03 November 2017

For Acculturated: Does Television Finally Understand Catholic Culture?

As I have grown older and wiser (?), I have realized not everyone who identifies as Catholic lives their life the same way I do. I confess that I struggle to understand how they can identify this way but not live by the rules the Church establishes, but the truth of the matter is, Catholicism is almost just as powerful a cultural force as a religious force, similar to Judaism. Heritage and tradition and expectation play an enormous part in people's lives, from big decisions like baptizing their children, to little things like saying the Hail Mary. Unexpectedly, television has lately given valuable insight into how a growing number of Catholics reconcile their faith and culture. Check out my latest article for Acculturated to think about this more.

30 October 2017

The Experiment Continues

I'm ready at last. I am ready to read Moby Dick. If you recall my article for Acculturated, I have put off approaching this tome since high school, after my teacher told me "don't read Moby Dick until you are ready to read Moby Dick." When a spot opened up in a reading group at The Rosenbach, I said yes. Yes, I am ready. Yes, this is the time. I will be reading the novel until February, meeting once a month to discuss its chapters. I am forty-four chapters deep, and I don't regret the sudden decision, the leap of investment. The open spot was just the push I needed to commit to Melville, and recommit to myself as a writer.

27 October 2017

For Acculturated: Advice from the Transcendentalists...

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of my favorite writers. I try to emulate him most when I write, though who knows if that at all comes across. Lately, I have heard many people say they never read him, nor learned about him in school, which shocked me. He was the absolute heart of American literature in my high school and college education! How could one discuss American authors and not touch on him? Sadly, people think they are far removed from the Transcendentalist philosophy that shaped the nation, but here's the thing - they are not. Especially in the autumn season, our love of nature and Transcendental roots come pouring out. Don't laugh at millennials for going to pumpkin patches; we all need to experience nature, as my latest article for Acculturated discusses. Embrace your nature yearnings, and nurture them often. Now go read some Emerson!

16 October 2017

Insights from Infestation

Home. Is where the heart is. Is where you lay your head. Is wherever I’m with you.

Home. Possibly the finest of four-letter words. It is both a physical place and an untouchable feeling; four walls but also four (more or less) people.

Home should be the place one goes to be comfortable, to be safe, but mine has not been that place lately. For the last three weeks, I have lugged around a trash bag with some clothes, a book bag with a computer and toiletries and Moby-Dick, and now a tote bag with some groceries, a vest, and sneakers. I have worn and washed and reworn and rewashed the same few outfits, which were not always appropriate for the strangely humid October weather.  I have gone from apartment to farm to house to apartment to farm again, blessed to have hospitable friends and family. I have dog sat and baby sat and bought baked goods to earn my keep, to show my thanks, to just have a bed in which to sleep. I am exhausted and just want to go home. But, haven’t I been there this whole time?

12 October 2017

For Acculturated: A Dystopian Movie with a Surprisingly Pro-Family Message

Friday nights are best spent watching movies with friends. Especially when the movie is worth writing about! I so enjoyed Netflix's new original dystopian movie What Happened to Monday. If you haven't seen it, you really should watch it, if only because then my latest article for Acculturated will make more sense. But mostly, because the acting is amazing! I hope you enjoy!

05 October 2017

For Acculturated: What Jane Austen Teaches Us about Texting

As many of my posts imply, I love Jane Austen and any excuse to write about her! Check out my latest article for Acculturated about how our twenty-first century writing culture is more akin to her nineteenth century culture than we might think.