Nadia Bolz-Weber Review
Last Thursday I had the opportunity to see Nadia Bolz-Weber, the Pastor at the House for all Sinners and Saints in Denver, CO. She came to Lenoir-Rhyne’s campus as a part of the Visiting Writers Series. She actually made a few appearances as she spoke once in Belk Centrum and then again that night in P.E. Monroe.
She definitely does not follow the traditional ideals of Christianity. Liberal would describe her mildly to say the least, not that it is a bad thing. I like her views on a lot of things. To me, it seems as if she pays more attention to what Jesus called, “The spirt of the Law”, opposed the “letter of the Law.” She thinks that God actually doesn’t care about sexuality, whatever that might mean to a person.
Of course, this view does not come without controversy. She has made headlines in the church by saying that she supports gay marriage. To be honest, it makes me sad that this is the only reason people know her. She has a very interesting perspective on a lot of things in the Bible, not just marriage equality. I thought she came off as very bright, opinionated, and charismatic.
Paul Mundoon’s “Hedgehog”
Paul Mundoon was selected as being one of Lenoir-Rhyne’s “Visiting Writers.” Unfortunately, the weather kept him from being able to speak to the University. However, we still read his poem, “Hedgehog,” as a class.
It spoke of a snail and, of course, a hedgehog. The imagery displays the snail as being fearless as it rides “like a hovercraft.” Meanwhile, the hedgehog is shy. It has been hurt before by something or someone. All the author wants is to know what is going on with the hedgehog. He wants the hedgehog to withdraw from itself and give answers, converse, and feel the love.
Then the poem compares the hedgehog to a god with its spikes acting as a crown of thorns. The poet says that a god will never again trust in the world. Is he talking about the story of Adam and Eve? What makes the hedgehog so god-like? And what does that make the snail? This poem provided more questions than answers, maybe that’s why we need the hedgehog to answer our questions.
Katherine Howe: The Genre of Horror
Katherine Howe, a visiting writer at Lenoir-Rhyne University, started getting curious about hauntings and the genre of horror when she was in Graduate School at Harvard about 10 years ago. Any good writer relates their personal lives into their stories, characters and situations. So, since she was going to write horror, what did she do? She moved into a haunted house, of course.
This house was old, very old. It had been occupied for over 200 years. The ceiling was so low, it was fairly easy to tell the people of this time were vertically challenged. She didn’t have the greatest heater from the sounds of it. Ice used to grow on the ceiling at night during the harsh winters, as if the house was trying to rub it in her face that it’s haunted.
Harvard is fairly close to Salem, Massachusetts, home of the infamous “Salem witch trials.” It is known as one of the most haunted areas in the United States. In this certain town close to Salem, one could watch downtown and find tarot readers, psychics, Ouija, you name it.
Out of this environment she produced a New York Time’s bestseller. There is a lot to be said about surrounding yourself with the content of your artwork. What’s the best way to write about ghosts. Put yourself near them. Let them come to you. Once you feel the sheer fear that they will drive into you, you’ll be able to churn out an absolute masterpiece.
Excerpt from Salvage The Bones
I did not manage to make it to Jesmyn Ward’s Visiting Writer’s speech. However, I did some research on her. She was born in the deep south, Mississippi to be exact. She has lived in the south for the majority of her lifetime. She even survived Hurricane Katrina. She has been through a lot of adversities from the sounds of it.
Salvage the Bones seems to be pretty reminiscent of that. After all, she says that this book “wrote itself” and I’m also aware that she is brutally honest with characters and stories. She definitely portrays this book to be set in the deep south in a time not too far removed from today. It is the way she narrates the story that sounds so familiar to me: “Won’t let nobody touch her but Skeet.” I grew up with the double negatives, country sounding nicknames, and sentences that were really just fragments. But it’s not necessarily improper English. It’s just a dialect. So if you never grew up with it, of course it sounds wrong.
I think it is really cool that she chose this style of writing. A lot of people would have just written in regular English, subject and verb included. She chose the most authentic form possible, which I totally respect.
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