You are currently browsing the daily archive for April 28, 2008.

“This [airing of snippets of sermons taken out of context followed by accusations of anti-American behavior and racism] is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright. This is an attack on the black church [on preaching in the slave tradition and on blacks’ audacity to be ‘different.”].”

“Maybe now, an honest dialogue about race in this country will begin.”

Jeremiah Wright

Emphasis mine

Read more about it.

Read entire transcript on Wright’s Speech to the NAACP.

Why did Wright speak out now? We been playin’ the dozens.

The halls are buzzing—here at the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. So much excitement about Poetry. So much excitement about Ann Hite. So much anticipation. Even rumors, once in a while, concerning the upcoming Southern-style Garden Party honoring Ruth at which time Poetry Editor, Helen Losse, will meet Fiction Editor, Phoebe Kate Foster face to face, fill corridors and classrooms. Flowers will sing and food will proclaim. Val’s grandballons will dig in the dirt. Might the shy Rebekah Cowell make an appearance? Time will tell.

Poems-on-the-Odds winds down. We’ve outdone ourselves this year.

Tomorrow the Mule will feature Carolyn Krieter-Foronda, Poet Laureate of Virginia. She’s our second Southern Poet Laureate. Readers will remember that North Carolina’s Kathryn Stripling Byer made her appearance on the Mule last April. Will others join them? Who will we ask next year? Time will tell. We’re the Dead Mule not a dead school, and as we speak ten poets stand in the lecture hall ready to shine in June and July. And we’re open for submissions.

The very next day, the first of Ann Hite’s short stories, “Life on Black Mountain” begins, getting a jump on May. According to Phoebe Kate, sister woman to our beloved editor Valerie MacEwan, the Mule all but “discovered” Ann Hite. She’s been in the Mule before. Her “Introduction” was published days ago. And as I said, the halls are full of noise. I heard some kind of chatter about a new series by the editors. Just a rumor. Might not work out. But check back. The Dead Mule School’s always up to something that only time will tell.

Thrilled and excited, I write.

Also posted at the Dead Mule.

Writing, Opening a Deep Well By Thomas Merton

Writing is not just jotting down ideas. Often we say: “I don’t know what to write. I have no thoughts worth writing down.” But much good writing emerges from the process of writing itself. As we simply sit down in front of a sheet of paper and start to express in words what is on our minds or in our hearts, new ideas emerge, ideas that can surprise us and lead us to inner places we hardly knew were there.

One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.”

Emphasis mine


Writing is a process whereby we create and expand our thinking.  This is why I object to using only Bible verses to answer a question.  Not that I object to Bible verses.  Not that the Word of the Lord doesn’t matter.  But if we stop there, without paraphrasing what we read, we learn nothing of what we really think.

“If I had no choice about the age in which I was to live, I nevertheless have a choice about the attitude I take and about the way and the extent of my participation in its living ongoing events. To choose the world is not then merely a pious admission that the world is acceptable because it comes from the hand of God. It is first of all an acceptance of a task and a vocation in the world, in history and in time. In my time, which is the present. To choose the world is to choose to do the work I am capable of doing, in collaboration with my brother and sister, to make the world better, more free, more just, more livable, more human. And it has now become transparently obvious that mere automatic “rejection of the world” and “contempt for the world” is in fact not a choice but an evasion of choice. The person, who pretends that he can turn his back on Auschwitz or Viet Nam and acts as if they were not there, is simply bluffing.

The great problem of our time is not to formulate clear answers to neat theoretical questions but to tackle the self-destructive alienation of man in a society dedicated in theory to human values and in practice to the pursuit of power for its own sake.”

Thomas Merton. Contemplation in A World of Action (New York: Doubleday & Company, 1973: 164-165, 168.

April 2008