This month, I set aside my very messy beginning (Simplicity) and began the section in my book about Hospitality. My resident mystic is Dorothy Day. I highly recommend Day's book Loaves and Fishes. In it, she tells the story of the Catholic Worker movement, a movement that began during the Great Depression. They started with a magazine, trying to highlight the plight of the poor and marginalized; this lead to houses of hospitality which offered shelter to many of their friends who couldn't afford to live anywhere else. After this, they opened communitarian farms to feed and teach those they encountered and befriended in the poor city streets of New York City.
Day's story is honest, funny, and inspiring. She is gracious in her telling of difficult people, honest about the mistakes they made, and fervent in her passion to love others. Her story is also terribly sad both for the time it was written and because it is still so timely. She tells of immigrants stuck in the cycle of low-income housing, rising rents, and cheating landlords. She tells stories of so many who are still ignored in our society.
As someone who grew up privileged, I've know that I've often been unaware of the struggles of others, not from intention but because wealth and privilege have the power to isolate us from the struggles of others. Day's words about poverty are moving: "We need always be thinking and writing about it, for if we are not among its victims its reality fades from us. We must talk about poverty because people insulated by their own comfort lose sight of it."
I have two pieces that happened to appear on the same day this week. They both explore supernatural things but in completely different ways.
My piece for Off the Page points to a new genre of YA fiction: agnostic angels. I explore the ways our fantasy genres tell us about ourselves and our existential longings.
In a rather more personal piece for Good Letters called Parting the Veil, I explore the idea that the nightmares and visions I've had since I was a child might be mystical in nature.