For several months, my wife has been trying to get me to read an essay called “The Solution to World Poverty,” which appeared in The New York Times Magazine in 1999. The author, Peter Singer, presents the idea that if we don’t give all our surplus money to help people in need, we are not living an ethical lifestyle.
I put off reading the essay because I knew it would make me uncomfortable. I was nervous to assume responsibility for whatever knowledge it might contain. Finally, I read it at work during a recent lunch break, and I was right. It challenged me in ways that I’m still working through. (more…)
Tristan Mouritsen had his doubts about starting his tie dye shirt business. “Will I be able to support myself and my family?” That is the daunting question any artist with a family must find a way to answer. (more…)
I’ve heard stories of children drowning in canals. A canal runs past my apartment complex, and it doesn’t seem threatening, yet I’ve heard these man-made streams can be deceptive and treacherous. This one was emptied several months ago with the approach of winter, but during the warmer months it was full of water and life. Green moss billowed on the rocky bottom, ducks dove to catch small fish, and my wife once saw a muskrat scuttle to the water and swim upstream. (more…)
In early December, the well-known author Brian Doyle did a reading at BYU-Idaho and visited the nonfiction class I was taking at the time. Meeting him and hearing him read his writing aloud was an incredible experience, and I realized that while our personalities and writing styles are different, our goals as writers are much the same. We both see our writing as weapons. We both see stories as food that can nourish the world. (more…)
Nature is an important part of our story. Mankind came from nature, yet has worked for millennia to remove itself from nature. But we can’t escape the fact that she still calls to us; she is still part of us. And if we listen, we will hear her invitation to come commune with her and learn her secrets.
The week before Christmas, my wife and I attended a community performance of Handel’s Messiah that my father and two of my brothers sang in. I’m a big fan of this oratorio, but the thought of sitting through such a long performance intimidated me a little. (more…)
I am reading a collection of nonfiction essays by Brian Doyle called Grace Notes. Doyle’s writing is a nice balance between the lighthearted and the serious. Though his writing is sometimes goofy, he truly believes that “stories maybe save lives.” He knows his writing has the power to heal and to build. He also knows his stories are weapons, as shown in his essay, “What Am I Doing Here?” In part, this piece describes his desperate desire for justice in the aftermath of 9/11, in which three of his friends were killed:(more…)