Thursday, January 1, 2015
Find a creek, river, lake, or ocean, and be still beside it for a time. Sit by an open fire and watch the flames. Sit on the porch and lie on the grass. Light candles. Take a deep breath. Write a handwritten letter to someone.
Discover something new everyday. Learn. Tell stories. Listen to old people. Ask them questions.
Do something nice for others when you can and don't hesitate to be kind to yourself.
Read actual, real books and newspapers.
Spend an entire day without looking at your phone. If you feel the urge to post a selfie everyday, take a picture of some other beautiful thing instead. Remember that there is power in moderation.
Learn to cook or bake something new. Enjoy every meal. Savor your food. Drink water.
Be completely quiet. Turn your favorite song up as loud as it will go.
If someone makes you feel bad all the time, get away from them. Laugh with others. Laugh while you're alone.
Spend time with animals. They make us better people.
Spray someone with the kitchen sink sprayer. Sing while washing dishes. Dance.
Don't judge. Think this: "There but for the grace of God go I" or "Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Forgive others. Forgive yourself.
--Silas House, from "What I Know: a Prayer Essay"
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Ron Hansen is my new favorite writer. He's probably best known for his novel The Assassination of Jessee James, which became a Brad Pitt film. I read his books Exiles (2008) and Marietta in Ecstasy (1991) this year, although I have been hearing about them for ages. Exiles is a novel about one of my favorite poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and centers on when he wrote one of his most famous poems, about a shipwreck that killed several nuns. The novel also gives us insight into the nuns' lives. Phenomenal. Mariette in Ecstasy is about an American nun who starts to experience stigmata in the early 1900s. It is like a long poem. Some of the most beautiful language I've ever read, and a plot that will keep you up into the wee hours, turning the pages.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
My top ten in alphabetical order:
The Secret Sisters-Put Your Needle Down
Monday, December 15, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Silas House is the author of six novels, one book of creative nonfiction, and three plays. He is the NEH Chair in Appalachian Studies at Berea College. www.silashouse.org
For a better understanding of the history of Appalachia please consult Ron Eller's book Uneven Ground.
The author of "What's the Matter With Eastern Kentucky," Annie Lowrey, leftThe New York Times just before her article was published and is now at New York Magazine