Hope

She is Valor

Tell me your brush with greatness. How often have we danced around this one—in ice-breakers, job interviews, admissions essays? Predictability aside, it’s an intriguing litmus test. This was the first speech I assigned students in my Public Speaking & Discussion course. Because, really, who doesn’t want to stand in front of a college classroom of […]

Choosing to be Black Living History

won’t you celebrate with me   won’t you celebrate with me what i have shaped into a kind of life? i had no model. born in babylon both nonwhite and woman what did i see to be except myself? i made it up here on this bridge between starshine and clay, my one hand holding […]

Meet the Princess of the Press: Ida B. Wells

This was first published in March 2015.  Southern trees bear strange fruit Blood on the leaves and blood at the root Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees Before Billie Holiday sang the lyrics above at Cafe Society, the first integrated nightclub in New York, another icon of […]

Welcome to The Mudroom

This is the first-ever post written for The Mudroom, back in February 2015. It’s as relevant now as it was then! Back in the day, I used to write for Cornerstone magazine. The staff was a community inside of a community: artists, proofreaders, marketing, writers, mailroom. It was frantic and insane and glorious. I miss […]

The Immigrants’ Daughter

It’s maybe her first memory: The rocking boat, tempest-tossed* and cutting through Atlantic waves. “You always remember what makes you afraid,” she smiled. Fear mingled with hope as the USNS General M.L. Hersey entered the safety of the Lady’s harbor. Embrace was not a word she understood. Not in English. At three years of age, […]

To My High-Spirited Daughter This Epiphany

This isn’t the way the world’s supposed to be. You feel that. It’s Epiphany but you’re still saying “Maranatha” like it’s Advent. You want Jesus to come back and make things right. Make math as easy to perceive as your classmates do. Make your body able to control your emotions. Epiphany for you is a […]

Excerpt from A Prayer for Orion by Katherine James

 Editor’s Note: Kate James has written a vibrant memoir about her son’s battle with heroin, and her own experience during that time. This is an important book and we highly recommend it. Kate generously allowed us to use an excerpt today as her book launches! Few parents can say the word heroin. It took me […]

The Magi

Editor’s Note on “The Magi:” A dear friend recently confided that she loves the Season of Epiphany (beginning in early January) but secretly dreads its first Sunday. Just as Christmas is neatly tucked away, her church musters up one last pageant to remember the Magi. Far from the orchestrated order and beauty of Advent’s Nativity […]

The Winding Paths That Lead Us Home

“It was such a God thing.” It’s our way of saying, God ordained this; it must have been the will of the Lord. That’s why it all worked out, right? But then, it doesn’t work out. Something that seemed so clear gets fuzzy. Dreams die. Plans change. Wasn’t that God’s plan, too?

Not So January White

I went through three Advent calendars this year.  The chocolate kind; maybe it was four. One was my daughter’s. I was forgiven upon upgrading it to a higher-caliber chocolate one. Eventually I ate that too, and we settled out of court. Psychoanalysis of this penchant leads me down infinite rabbit trails, so I’m sticking with […]

Is Love Worth the Pain?

For the first year and a half, I called out her name.  Over and over again, I would startle myself awake once I had barely fallen asleep. My arm would shoot out from my body in a desperate attempt to stop her, to catch her, to convince her to stay—the shout of her name went […]

Waiting For the Thaw

The word appeared fully formed in my brain as I sought an adequate description for this sense of emotional paralysis. Winter. I rolled it around on my tongue, playing free-association word solitaire.  Winter is cold. Winter is dark. Winter might be beautiful, but it’s dangerous. Winter scenes offer hauntingly lonely images of stark black branches […]