Personal Essay

Untamed Wolf in Me

Any spiritual journey is, if authentically embraced, a journey towards truth—and significant truths often come to us in pieces, rather than all at once.   When on a weekend pilgrimage at the Order of the Sisters of St. Francis in Sylvania, Ohio several years ago, our group paused in front of a statue of St. Francis with a wild wolf that he was said to have tamed. The question that we were asked to consider was: I think the untamed wolf in me is ______.  I found that question intriguing and tried to create an answer. But, I couldn’t. At

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Creating Stone Soup With a Pen

Now, you all remember Stone Soup, don’t you? In it, starving strangers convinced villagers to add ingredients to their pot of broth, one containing only water and a single stone. As the villagers agreed and added their contributions, the soup fed them all. So, stay with me here. When writing, the stone is your story idea that you water while you also add ingredients to the genesis of that idea. For example: Tossing carrots into the pot could = creating characters. Potatoes? Plot! Squash is the setting. You get the idea.

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Vulnerability

Even though most of us, thankfully, won’t ever need to confess to crapping the bed, we will all have moments when human dignity seems a distant memory. If we’re writers, we’re going to be tempted to write about those moments – and even put our stories where other people can read what we’ve written. That can be risky, even borderline masochistic. My grandmother, for example, once told me that “ladies’ names and ladies’ faces are never seen in public places.” And yet, here I am, ready to write about . . . well, you know. And, when I imagine my

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Dancing With Truth

I recall no feelings of surprise when my afternoon kindergarten teacher, Miss Miraldi, knocked on our front door. After all, I didn’t know it was unusual. While she talked to my mother, I most likely petted my cat, Admiral Purry. Or maybe I enjoyed some Neapolitan wafer cookies with milk, although that’s a snack I typically ate while in kindergarten, not during an unprecedented home visit from my teacher. At the time, I didn’t understand the visit’s point. Later on, though, I overheard my mother telling her friend that Miss Miraldi said I didn’t do well on my pre-screening tests.

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