On April 16, Sony Pictures will release Heaven is for Real, a movie chronicling the amazing true story of a four-year-old boy who glimpsed heaven during an emergency surgery. Amid all the excitement over the film’s release, I personally worry that perhaps we are overlooking some troubling implications of this young boy’s revelation.
And this brings us to the story of Trigger County's own Mr. Bunyan. That’s what most folks called him because he never spoke that much and no one knew his actual, God-given first name. Those of us unlucky enough to get to know this man, as best as one could know a man who never let anyone know him that well, knew him by his nickname – 'Toe'.
In Hilton Als’s new book White Girls, his first major work since The Women” in 1996, he explores who we are when our seams are undone, and we are not all stitched up and made to behave properly. Like the city of New Orleans, this collection of profiles captures the fluid nature of being— from Truman Capote to Eminem to Michael Jackson. “We find truth, human truth, by pretending to be people we’re not,” Als writes. Als unties memoir, fiction and cultural critique in what he calls “a kind of intellectual whodunit.”
I’m a naturalist, which, for the purposes of this reflection, means two things. First, I’m hyper-aware of all the ways that what I teach to students is incredibly difficult to maintain in daily life. From the amount of driving necessitated by living in a rural environment to the impossibility of eco-friendly wine consumption, even my fairly intentional life is rife with contradiction and unwanted impact. Second, my work and personal life are bound up to a degree that puts my small liberal arts college to shame. So.
Most of this month's mornings I've woken to frosted window panes and a stomach still sloshing with Jack. Inflamed cheeks press themselves against the icy glass; a cool hand on a fevered forehead. Those wintry windows are opaque enough to shroud my view of you standing in the driveway where you stand each morning, waiting to climb into the metal canary's belly.
is to seem
even if you don't know how
as foreign as