The Wounded Warrior

Sculpture of the Dying Gaul at the Capitoline Museum in Rome. A Gallic warrior collapses from the mortal wound to his chest. On display through March 16, 2014, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. (Photo credit) A mask, painted by a Marine who attends art therapy to relieve post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, is … Continue reading

What We Really Think of First Responders

After the recent tragedies in Boston and West, many of us celebrated the incredible stories of first responders. These were the people who ran back into the fray after the explosions, who searched for bodies in the rubble, who sacrificed their own safety and security to give blood, clothing, medical care, and whatever else was … Continue reading

Mamalu (When I look at the world)

John Pule’s Mamalu (When I look at the world) is one of a few contemporary pieces at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne that made me stop, look closer, and then think, “I have to blog this one.” Pule (born 1962) is from Niue, a South Pacific island country to the northeast of New … Continue reading

Walking the Land of Our Fathers

I’m in East Tennessee right now, writing from my hotel, where the rooms overlook the Smokies and everyone calls me “dearie.” Every time I come here, I feel closer to my father than before. He was born here and comes from a large, historic Kingsport family that had deep ties to the land and the … Continue reading

A Brief for the Defense

I’m feeling melancholy today. I found out my childhood music teacher passed away this weekend, and even though I’d been preparing for it since her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s a few years ago, it still hit me hard. She encouraged me to make music, and through that she helped ease the pain of some difficult school … Continue reading

The Problem with Police Cars

I’ve been swamped with work lately and unable to write very much, but in the meantime a lot has been happening. The Kennedy Center is gearing up for the Page to Stage Festival – a big thing for us playwrights. Michael has started law school full-time, which also means PILPG, Law Review, and working for … Continue reading

When They Die, Who Mourns Them?

Today I want to highlight a group of heroes out there doing amazing, practical work. I hope their hands-on response to the global crisis that is HIV/AIDS will inspire us to deeper compassion and give us just one example of how we can care for the people in greatest need among us. Joseph’s House is … Continue reading

Growing Up Without AIDS

What I remember most about AIDS growing up is the silence. In Memphis, where more than one friend actually went to ex-gay camp, I don’t remember hearing much about the disease that has now killed over 30 million people. To be fair, I also don’t remember any hateful statements about how AIDS cures homosexuality. No, … Continue reading

We Need Cleaner Air and Cleaner Hearts

Last week NPR featured a series on poisoned places exposing the ways polluted air continues to harm residents all over the US. When I heard this report on All Things Considered, I recognized the place immediately: thick fog, benzene in the air, burning eyes and throats, obscure cancers. Perhaps this was LaBelle, PA – the … Continue reading

Mob Guilt and Mob Mercy

Last night I saw Parade at Ford’s Theatre. Lucky SOBs: they scheduled a musical about the wrongful imprisonment and execution of a man in Georgia at conveniently the exact same time the Troy Davis case entered national consciousness. Add to that the looming seat stage left, draped in flags for an assassinated President Lincoln, then … Continue reading

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