How Horrible are the Elsie Dinsmore Books?

They need to be taken out of print immediately. The behavior of these adults is not portrayed as villainish, and that’s a huge problem. This stuff is normalized, not presented as a tragic backstory or obstacle to overcome. Children’s stories, from Harry Potter to Cinderella to A Series of Unfortunate Events, but especially Victorian literature,Continue reading “How Horrible are the Elsie Dinsmore Books?”

Leftover Impressions of China

Dongbei, the region composed of three provinces in the very northeast of China, was particularly well-represented in our company for some reason none of us could figure out. A blunt, sometimes rough-around-the-edges people even by Chinese standards, Dongbei-ren (“ren” means people) have stories of icy winters, growing up without a phone in the house, coal-Continue reading “Leftover Impressions of China”

No “They”, Only “We”

There is no default kind of human being! There is so much freedom in not seeing yourself or people like you as the standard norm for society. This “one of the bunch” mentality unlocks something more refreshing and rewarding even than superiority. You are not interesting or worthy because you’re the right kind of person,Continue reading “No “They”, Only “We””

Being Alone

Being alone is hard, worth it, draining, empowering, and lethal to overdose on. Do it, learn to enjoy it, do it often, and know when to quit. It’s more than just taking yourself out to eat or on a solo vacation. It’s watching major life moments – the happy ones – happen in front ofContinue reading “Being Alone”

Albanian Wedding Traditions (Interview, Part 2)

“We in Albania have weddings like before, we have it about 8 days, a long week.”  Me: Maybe a day is too short for a wedding. “But a week is too long. You get exhausted.” “Relatives come and stay after midnight, talking, laughing, decorating the house. And each day they meet each other. On ThursdayContinue reading “Albanian Wedding Traditions (Interview, Part 2)”

When to Step Away

Not every close relationship needs to – or can – stay close forever.. Some relationships reach a place where they should no longer be at all, at least for the foreseeable future. And some just need to hit the snooze button for a while. There is an occasion for everything, and a time for everyContinue reading “When to Step Away”

Interview: A Post-Communist Childhood

Antonella Bogdani (pictured on the left) was born and raised in the lovely mountain town of Korce, Albania. She works as a traveling English teacher to students in the surrounding villages, some of which are quite remote. She lives with her parents and her younger sister Kristina, who works as a radio host for aContinue reading “Interview: A Post-Communist Childhood”

A Critique of Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery is a Christian faith-based version of Alcoholics Anonymous. So far, so good. It also purports to help people find progress on non-addiction issues – any and all “hurts, habits, and hang-ups.” The latter is a serious mistake, in my opinion. It is at best useless, and at worst abhorrent, for Celebrate Recovery toContinue reading “A Critique of Celebrate Recovery”

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe is mesmerizing. It’s a lush, occasionally brutal, attention-grabbing, and deeply personal, masterpiece. We see a woman who for the most of her life has lived in the absence of love and therefore wants the next best thing: to be left alone. Her magic is chiefly used to this end. She despises power games andContinue reading “Circe by Madeline Miller”

The Chattanooga Food and Drink Scene

…is great, but this article certainly isn’t going to try cover it all! This is an almost completely random sampling of only five spots, based on a recent three week long visit back home. Chattanooga…I love you. Niedlovs Pictured above: blackberry lavender lemon scones, plus salmon and lox. Like most coffeeshops in Chattanooga, Niedlov’s isContinue reading “The Chattanooga Food and Drink Scene”