Hold It All

Philosophy/Poetics/Politics

Category: Good News

The Truly & Exceptionally Ecstasy-Inducing Good News, 4.29.2017

Last September, Brendan, and Jen, friends whom I had in Social Justice class years ago at SLU, told me that he had been diagnosed with malignant metastatic melanoma. The other day, Jen sent me the following text: “We just found out that Brendan’s full body CT scan done on Tuesday was normal—so no signs of cancer 12 weeks into treatment and 6 months after his surgery!”

The Good News of Publishing a Novel, 4.19.2017

At Amazon.com, I see that my friend Jason Makansi’s novel, The Moment Before, will be out in November. It’s about “a woman and her beloved Syrian father, separated forty years earlier when he is swept up in a geopolitical odyssey from hell, are almost reunited by a lawyer struggling to save his Illinois hometown from financial ruin.” I read a gripping draft of it this past summer, and I am pumped to facilitate a reading group of his book this fall.

 

The Good News of Pregnancy, 4.10.2017

Eileen McGrath Mosher responded to my out of the blue text with word that she is expecting her third child this September.

Adah, Eileen, Brent, Eamon

The Good News of Remembering a Friend, 4.8.2017

In 45 minutes I wrote three post cards, two letters and one note to a friend on the East Coast; I’ll post one a day for the upcoming week.

The Good News of a Knock on the Front Door, 4.7.2017

We were eating dinner when there was a short knock at the door. Whose knock was it—Charlene? Davion? Andrew? Joanie answered the door, and it was Chelsea Jaeger! She lives several houses up the block, and I told her just the other day I was out walking and composing a postcard in my mind to her. We had a catch up chat over the next twenty minutes. She’s been one of my teachers since we had an Honors Freshman class at SLU in 2010. Wise beyond her years, she’s now at the Brown School of Social Work. They’re lucky to have her in their midst.

The Good News of Jean Abbott’s Accompaniment, 3.30.2017

Jean Abbott* is like Kwan Yin, a bodhisattva who hears the cries of the world and through such listening knows what to do, or knows sometimes that there’s nothing to do except the being present and sharing accompaniment. She listened to me in those months of Mev death pang. She’s listened to hundreds of Bosnian, Somali, Guatemalan, Afghan, and Ugandan women. She’d lean forward in her chair as she’s listening and extend her hand to someone who doesn’t believe there’s a way out of hell. She’s given ten thousand hours of her life to this person, then that person, then another person. Andrew Wimmer said he’d go crazy doing for three hours in a single week what she’s been doing since the mid-1980s. She’s assisted people in recovering their some of their humanity after experiencing devastating violence, but she’d say to me, “Marko, it was the Bosnian woman who helped me to stop being a zombie, she gave life to me…”

*Jean founded the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma.

The Good News of a Single Blueberry, 3.19.2017

Almost five years ago, Erin Szopiak organized a mindful dinner for some of our friends: Everything for the menu had been grown locally, several of us helped prepare the meal in the King’s spacious kitchen, we savored most of the meal in calm silence, and, for dessert, Erin offered each of us a single blueberry, which we were to appreciate slowly, involving our sight, smell, touch, and taste.  Erin invited us to the wonder of the here and now!

The Good News of Remembering, 3.18.2017

Yesterday I caught up with Liz Burkemper, home for spring break from her first year at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  Liz inspires me with her aspiration to simplify her life and take time for contemplation. I told her I was grateful for her remembering Mev and her Brazil message  at some of the vast and lively protests she participated in in January and February.

The Good News of Translation, 3.17.2017

Opera excepted, I never asked myself, in those early years of reading literature in translation, what I was missing. It was as if I felt it were my job, as a passionate reader, to see through the faults or limitations of a translation–as one sees through (or looks past) the scratches on a bad print of a beloved old film one is seeing once again. Translations were a gift, for which I would always be grateful. What–rather, who–would I be without Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and Chekhov?

–Susan Sontag, At the Same Time: Essays & Speeches

 

The Good News of Midwifery, 3.16.2017

Today my friend, nurse practitioner and midwife Becky Hassler brought a baby into this world–9 pounds, 10 ounces.