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    Microaggressions and the Need to Know More

  • Val sing

    Lay Back the Darkness

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    One Wild and Precious Life?

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    Woman much missed

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    Speak to me : Take my hand : What are you now?

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    2013 Holiday Letter (Digital Edition), by Matt Churchill

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    Are You My Mother?

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    Hard Rock Returns to the Panopticon

  • A Christmas play staged in the basement, c. 1978 (the only basement photo I have).

    Basement Elegy

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    Fecturing: the female equivalent of mansplaining?

Microaggressions and the Need to Know More

Micro-aggressions are in the news, nationally and locally. In a recent New York Times piece, “Students See Many Slights as Racial ‘Microaggressions,’” Tanzina Vega describes microaggressions as “the subtle ways that racial, ethnic, gender and other stereotypes can play out painfully in an increasingly diverse culture.” The concept isn’t new. It was developed in the 1970s by Dr. Chester M. Pierce, a professor of education and psychiatry at Harvard University, and is common parlance among social scientists and critical race theorists. But ...

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Lay Back the Darkness

If I’d read Edward Hirsch’s “Lay Back the Darkness” before writing my previous post, maybe I could have laid back some of my own darkness. Hirsch read the poem at Davidson a few years ago, but it didn’t speak to me then. That was well before Mom’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. I’m a firm believer that poems open up to you when you need them, and shun you—sometimes quite rudely—when you don’t. Yesterday, watching the video of Hirsch’s talk at Davidson, I ...

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One Wild and Precious Life?

Something there is that doesn’t love a post, that sends me off to Facebook, Buzzfeed, and email, even when I know I need to write. It’s been more than two weeks since I flew home to Connecticut to visit my folks, seeing them, for the first time, living in separate quarters: Dad in his new apartment; Mom in assisted living. There was so much to take in that I didn’t even miss the basement. Dad has turned the master bedroom ...

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Woman much missed

In Thomas Hardy’s poem, “The Voice,” repetition and rhyme create a haunting echo, sounding out a persistent tugging of desire that can neither be escaped nor fulfilled: Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me, Saying that now you are not as you were When you had changed from the one who was all to me, But as at first, when our day was fair. Read this stanza once, and the earworm will burrow into your mind. ...

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Speak to me : Take my hand : What are you now?

When I FaceTimed with my mom on January 5th—her 75th birthday—she was surprisingly “good.” I put that word in quotations marks because I’m uncomfortable with the moral judgment it seems to place on the natural course of her disease. Yet that’s the word that come to mind, and she was really, pretty good: she knew it was her birthday, she said she was 75, and she asked me (un-prompted), “What’s Matt doing?” The question meant that she not only knew ...

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2013 Holiday Letter (Digital Edition), by Matt Churchill

    December 2013 PO Box 2143 Davidson, NC 28036   Dear friends and family, ‘Tis the season of college applications, and our children are nestled all snug at their laptops, while visions of essay prompts dance in our heads: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the word “Future”? Suzanne’s Answer: Tense. But I reject that pessimistic attitude.  When I see the word, “Future,” I think: Digital Age. And in that spirit, I offer this ...

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2012 Holiday Letter (by Matt Churchill)

December 15, 2012 Dear friends and family, As I sit here slavishly tied to the computer, Suzanne is off gallivanting around England on another one of her modernism junkets.  I never realized what a gravy train early 20th century poetry could be (or that my wife could manage to convert a 45 minute lecture into a week-long extravaganza from Oxford to the Cotswolds and London).  But I am not one to complain—supportive spouse that I am.  I jumped into single ...

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2011 Holiday Letter (by Matt Churchill)

December 2011 Dear friends and family, 2011 has been a difficult year for our family, mainly due to the sudden loss of my Mom, Jane Churchill, in October.  She was still working at the Durham, Connecticut public library when she died, and we were fortunate to gather as an extended family to celebrate her 80th birthday in June.  However, her full life and quick, peaceful passing simply do not fill the void left by her loss.  I thought about whether my ...

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2010 Holiday Letter (by Matt Churchill)

December 2010 Dear Friends and Family, Now don’t you just hate receiving those holiday cards that brag about how son, Tyson, made straight A’s at Brown University while dating Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and how daughter, Brittany, when not starring in her own reality T.V. show, has found a cure for halitosis? “Wait a second, Matt.  I don’t mean to interrupt your rant, but is that a picture of your son, Luke, with President Obama?” I’m a little embarrassed that ...

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2009 Holiday Letter (by Matt Churchill)

December 20, 2009 Dear Friends and Family, 2009 was a year for weddings.  Now some of you may be wondering how a couple of 43-year olds would get involved in a series of nuptials.  While we do live in the South, even down here Luke and Thomas (age 13) are still a bit young to get hitched.  And most of our college and high school friends got the marrying bug out of their systems in their twenties and early 30s. ...

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