When We’re Empty

Editor’s Note: Today’s picture was captured by the remarkable writer, photographer, Mudroom alumna, and friend— Dorothy Greco. You can find more of Dorothy’s words and images at her website, dorothygreco.com.  *** Here in the wastelands of February, we brush up against brilliance. We behold winter’s splendor—as she blankets sleeping soil with trains of white and […]

For the Heavy Lifters

Dear You, Crouched in that corner of the closet you’ve made your own, so you can steal one more moment before you have to hold up half of the sky again . . . Before you flip the nebulizer’s switch and pray your lungs cooperate this time—so you can tuck your boys in tonight. Before […]

“We Are the Waiting”

Editor’s note: “Are We the Waiting” makes for fitting background music for this piece. Click here. I am listening to my new favorite Advent song. From Green Day. How’s that for antithesis? I won’t tell you which album as this teaser is already polarizing. I’ll admit: I’m not cool enough for the punk genre, because […]

Why I Quit Church

It’s been two years since I quit the table— and the pew; since I’ve pinched the broken piece of bread between my fingers and dipped it in the crimson cup. The body and blood of Jesus, given for me . . . and promptly declined. At first, it wasn’t on purpose. (There was a global […]

Why are you in the Queue?

Here in the queue, time stands still, like the rest of us— whispering of a million things to do but THIS. I ignore her taunts for the brush with greatness I’ll find at this line’s end. A man ahead of me presses for some Marlboros. The one after inches forward with a six-pack of microbrews. […]

What We Waive

Here, between the corners of this flat, concrete square— is the crushing weight of contradiction, everywhere: Cameras, hidden, in pedestrian plain sight. One guard pats me down at the fence with steely, cold precision— while a second scolds a tiny toddler squeezing through another. (The one that protects the towering monument above from an onslaught […]

The Unlived Life

You go there. I do too, sometimes. Here’s mine: I’m in a packed-out bar sitting at a table, elbow-to-elbow, with my closest friends. The burly man on stage does tap-“check-check” as he tiptoes around some electric guitars, an upright piano, maybe even a few drums, and then slips into the spotlight. “C’mon down!” he proclaims […]

Under this Same Sun

It wasn’t cued to play today. It’s been years. But somehow between My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Imogen Heap, and all the other music encroaching the playlists of parents with teens, it surfaced: This fragment of life Lora gave me a lifetime ago. I listen to The Weepies, as the Steve Tannen from 16 years […]

Christmas Unabridged

A light glares in my eyes as I’m lowered into position. Handheld torture devices encircle my head. I am at the mercy of my interrogator. There is no mincing of words in THE CHAIR. There is only cutting to the quick:  “How was your Thanksgiving?” she leans in. The dreaded loaded question. (You know.) How […]

Here Lies Fear

Coming of age in any epoch means WEATHER.           Doing it as a burgeoning evangelical in the late 1900s (as my kids love to remind me) was like sipping a tempest in a teacup. There was no smoking, no parties or swearing for this sold-out Jesus-freak. There were—instead—bad perms, sub-par Christian rock, and not-so-subtle-sweatshirts like this […]

Where Truth Lies

You’ve seen it. In rush-hour traffic or the drop-off lane. Bumper Sticker Theology: Big letters. Bright backgrounds. Bold and brief statements . . . About eternity. A precursor to the Socials’ holy eye candy, Christian bumper stickers pack the one-two punch of VISIBILITY and IRRITABILITY for captive audiences. Like their political counterparts, critics have responded […]

Hollowed (Out) Halls of Justice

My daughter excels at catching insects with her bare hands. This skill set is on par with her fluency in “meme” and her ability keep up with Daveed Diggs’ light-speed verses in Hamilton. I am in awe of these aptitudes, and that she wields them despite sharing DNA with me. So, I wasn’t surprised when […]

True (Ghost) Stories

Dear Reader, There are those songs we all have in our heads . . . Some come and go. Others settle in for a season. Then there are the few that linger the longest—part of ghosts from the past, perhaps, that we can’t quite shake. This month’s theme, the virtue of simplicity, conjured up a […]

These Three Lines

Creepy Lines His classmates trickle into school, trapped Brady-Bunch style in their respective squares. Each boasts a customized backdrop: outer space, Minecraft, background blur, a zoo . . . and Mom-zilla fixing to eat her offspring for breakfast. “Your mom must be thrilled with your background!” my son’s teacher types in the chat. I read […]

Dr. Justina Ford Goes Higher

7,000 was the number of babies she brought into the world. 31 were the years she served the diverse community of east Denver—treating patients regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or ability to pay—offering resources and food for those who lacked them.1 She is reported to have said, “Folks make an appointment and whatever color they turn […]

Nia Dennis Has the Floor

Nia Dennis worked the floor for 90 seconds and a lifetime. The student-athlete’s January 23 routine (9.95) not only secured the UCLA Bruin’s win over Arizona State but became a rising, viral anthem for something far more profound: In her LA Times feature of Dennis, Thuc Nhi Nguyen reports, “Inspired by the Black Lives Matter […]