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No. 13



On Writing
Gina Bria
If, as writers we are always seeking a secret reader, we must but be surprised to find someone writing back to us: God. Even our most idle thoughts, when written down can reveal a cry of the heart, a hidden communion with the Other that constitutes writing as prayer.

Southern Literature
Caroline Langston
When asked, "Why is there so much good Southern literature?" Walker Percy answered, "Because we lost the war." In the past forty years, Southern writers have gone beyond the categories of defeat and loss to create a literature that is universal in its preoccupations. Caroline Langston, through her examination of contemporary Southern writers, uncovers the blood-ties, self-revelation--and humility--that are the hallmarks of all great literature.

Stopping by Woods
Thomas Becknell
The woods are not only a place for recollection and inspiration; under the scrutiny of some of America's finest writers, they also serve as a metaphor for the cosmos. In this survey of pastoral authors from James Fenimore Cooper to Annie Dillard, we see the woods as a dim mirror reflecting our own unfathomability and our hunger for beauty in a harsh and mysterious world.


The Awkward Blessing
Jack Clemo and the Poetic Vision of Faith
Stephen A. Woolsey

Blind and deaf from an early age, Jack Clemo labored through the course of his life to redeem, through poetry, the devastated landscape of his Cornwall childhood. Stephen Woolsey recounts the trials, sorrows, and ultimate blessing as Clemo moves from the isolation of his affliction to the finding of his heart's true desire.

Grits and Grace
Flannery O'Connor's Strange Alliance with Southern Fundamentalists
Ralph C. Wood

Flannery O'Connor frequently found amusement in newspaper accounts of the snake handlers, tent revivalists, and Holy Rollers of her native Georgia. Yet, as an orthodox Catholic she discovered that she had far more in common with her fundamentalist neighbors than with the theological liberals she encountered in the high literary circles of the 1950s. Written with a hard-won faith, O'Connor's stories never failed to illuminate the intersection of the mundane and the supernatural.

Being Human
Dorothy Sayers on Vocation and the Feminine
Jennifer H. Disney

If we live in a world where God is no longer recognized as one who calls us to serve, Dorothy Sayers observed, then how can work be other than a curse? How can we say we have a "calling" if there is no one there to call? In this study, Jennifer Disney contrasts the philosophies of gender and vocational roles espoused by Sayers with those of psychologist Mary Pipher.

The Mars Hill Interview

Traveling Mercies
A Conversation with Anne Lamott
Katherine Kellogg Towler

Anne Lamott has garnered a large, devoted following for her witty, irreverent books about faith, writing, and childrearing. Interviewed during a recent tour to promote her bestseller, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Lamott acknowledges that she is too outrageous for the evangelical and too preoccupied with Christ for the liberal camps. In this conversation, at turns hilarious and deeply poignant, Lamott discusses the steps which led to her conversion and the joys and trials of being a single mother.

Reminders of God

The Writing Life


James Vescovi


Kevin Heath

Taking God up on the Dinner Invitation
Dale Wayne


Part of Eve's Discussion
Marie Howe

From "The Pre-Luciferian Cantos"
Otto Osip Ochs

Monk's Journal
George Slanger

The Burden and the Glory
Philip Sueper

Pine Nuts
Judith Gillis

Good Friday
Joy Sawyer

Views and Reviews

Essay: All Summer Long:
The Beach Boys and the Nostalgia for Paradise
Douglas Thorpe

Reviews: Mermaid Avenue, Billy Bragg and Wilco
Jefferson Garn

Love Thinketh No Evil, Peter Himmelman
Dave Urbanski

No Mermaid, Sinéad Lohan
Douglas Thorpe

Music Also Reviewed
Douglas Thorpe



The Garden of Good and Evil
Jon Hassler's Chronicles of Life in Minnesota
Ed Block


The Healing Power of Stories
Daniel Taylor

Going All the Way, Don Wakefield
Scott Sawyer

The Gifts of the Jews, Thomas Cahill
David W. Frauenfelder

A Certain Justice, P.D. James
Ralph C. Wood

Books Also Reviewed
Sheryl Cornett


Essay: Beloved: A Fine, Fine Film:
So Why Did It End up in the 99-Cent Bin at Blockbuster?
Barbara Hiles Mesle

Reviews: A Civil Action
Jon Wallace

The Horse Whisperer
Scott Emmert

Films Also Reviewed
Joey Earl Horstman

Timeless graffiti from the broad canvas.
Compiled by James Vescovi

Mars Hill Contributors