KtBlog

Killing the Buddha

James Agee’s Aperture of Awe

When a friend told me (late Thursday) it was National Punctuation Day I got upset.  I wished I’d known earlier; I would have done something.  When the knee-jerk regret wore off I realized I’d unknowingly celebrated punctuation in the best way I can think of.  I’d read, aloud with friends, from Permit me Voyage, the only…

Killing the Buddha

What Would Plato Do for Labor Day?

“Of the painter we say that he will paint reins, and he will paint a bit?” Socrates asks Glaucon in the epilogue to Plato’s Republic. “But does the painter know the right form of the bit and reins? Nay, hardly even the workers in brass and leather who make them; only the horseman who knows…

David Plante

Essential Stories

I like to think of Blaise Pascal, though fiction didn’t much concern him, when trying to understand why fiction has more and more been reduced to details of quotidian life as against a vision of universal life, of essential life. Contemporary fiction seems to be locked in nothing but details, though at one time in…

james-agee-by-evans

Curious, Obscene, Terrifying, and Unfathomably Mysterious

I am going off to write about people. An ordinary proposition, it would seem, particularly for a person who makes a living writing for people and, typically, about people or the things they think about and create. For the next month, I’ll be joining my friend Lucas Foglia in Costa Rica to spend time with…

Killing the Buddha

Cathedral Center Court

Earlier today, Roger Federer came back from being down two sets to one to punch his ticket to a fourth consecutive French Open final. He’s never won it all on clay. On Sunday, he’ll be facing a Swede named Robin Soderling, a guy who before ejecting Federer’s nemesis Nadal from the tournament (in One of…

Killing the Buddha

Mary Gaitskill’s Private Theology

William Deresiewicz offers a damning assessment of one of my favorite contemporary authors, Mary Gaitskill, in The Nation. The problem, he says, is religion. Gaitskill has always been a religiously concerned writer, though it wasn’t immediately evident in books like Bad Behavior and Because They Wanted To. A former editor of Gaitskill’s tipped me off…

My Bible

The Pleasure of the Text

Jean-Luc Marion, at the outset of God without Being: One must admit that theology, of all writing, certainly causes the greatest pleasure. During the year of my becoming a Catholic, that frought and crazy and inevitable year, I bought a New Oxford Annotated Bible from my college bookstore. Its over two thousand pages flop between…

Dedication

The Diaries of the Late God

Last week a dear friend blessed me with a 1968 first edition paperback copy of a sleeping classic: Excerpts from the Diaries of the Late God by Anthony Towne. I love this. The dedication page sends a tingle down my spine. The poet Anthony Towne was, if you didn’t know, the extraordinary partner of the…