17 Aug 2017

Being time and Stalker time

[There are some spoiler-ish comments regarding Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker ahead.] • I’m in the Zone. It’s one of the most mysterious places in all of cinema. Some say that wishes are granted there. Some say it can swallow human beings whole, and that is why so few return. For

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21 Jun 2017

My Box of 64: Ep. 4 – The Summer of Nathans

Here it is at last — Episode Four of My Box of 64, my new audio journal. Press play… This episode took a while to produce. Thanks to “the Nathans” and to John Barber (who volunteers so much of his time helping me put this show together). I’d hoped to

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04 Jun 2017

Where did the “evangel” in “evangelical” go?

I try to avoid posts that aren’t focused on the arts and imagination. But we’re living in a world where an “evangelical” leader calls our President a “dream President” for evangelicals. So if I’m going to retain any capacity to respect the term “evangelical,” which my childhood burned like a

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21 May 2017

My Box of 64: Ep. 3 – Getting Into Character

On the third episode of the new Looking Closer audio journal, My Box of 64… I write to my muse, Thomas, with comments on the new Netflix series — Abstract: The Art of Design, the new Terence Davies film about Emily Dickinson called A Quiet Passion, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  Then I

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30 Apr 2017

Personal Shopper (2017)

Just as Olivier Assayas’s new film Personal Shopper keeps shapeshifting from horror movie to socio-economic commentary to erotic thriller to paranormal murder mystery… so this review keeps shifting as I write it. I haven’t published my comments until now because I couldn’t figure out where to begin in describing all that

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25 Apr 2017

My Box of 64: Episode 2 – Mischa Willett & the power of practice

On the second episode of the new Looking Closer audio journal, My Box of 64… I welcome poet and Seattle Pacific University writing instructor Mischa Willett to talk about why he gave up on entering poetry contests, to share why he memorizes his favorite poems, and to read poems from his

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19 Dec 2016

The difference between Gandalf and Saruman

I grew up in a Baptist church. There were a lot of good-hearted people there. I’m still in touch with some of them. But at 14, I began to smell, in that community, a certain stench. It wasn’t the hairspray of the church ladies who sat in the pew in

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26 Oct 2016

A blessing upon your vote…

And now I invite Pastor Kenneth Tanner to the podium to give a blessing to all American voters, as they cast their votes for what vision of our nation’s future they find more in keeping with the ideals of “liberty and justice for all…” • May you remember that all

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19 Aug 2016

Elsewhere: The Lives (and Films and Albums) of Others

In this episode of “Looking Elsewhere”: The Lives of Others. Lisa Hannigan. Emmylou Harris and friends. The Criterion Collection. And so much more…

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18 Aug 2016

You’re invited to write with me…

It’s time. Let me give you some background: I had a remarkable run of years in writing and publishing books — five titles in four years (2007-2011). That was a rush. A privilege. An exhilarating joy, after a decade of hard work on manuscripts that I never thought would be read beyond

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