Words That Sustain Me: Punching the Air

“They can’t kill you in here but they will try, Umi says from across the round table. That’s the point — locking you up isn’t enough for them they will try to crush your spirit until you’re nothing but, “DUST,” we both say together. And what does dust do Amal? What did Maya Angelou say? ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: Atticus, part 2

“And then he heard a far-off car on the highway. Why, he didn’t know, but Atticus walked to the front yard, taking off his gloves, and he saw a yellow taxi heading toward the house. And while his son was still a long way off, his father rushed out to greet him.” -Atticus The novel, ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: Atticus, part 1

“When I was in college I read a folk tale about a father pursuing a son who’d run away, from one world to the next. The father called to him, ‘Please come back!’ But his son looked across the great gulf between them and shouted to him, ‘I can’t go that far!’ So his father ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: The Alchemist

“There is only one way to learn,” the alchemist answered. “It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.” -The Alchemist The book that we feature for the month of October is, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. This wonderful little book is just one hundred and seventy pages long but ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: We’ll Fly Away

Read Read Read Some More! “It is easy to forgive the innocent. It is the guilty who test our morality. People are more than the worst thing they’ve ever done.” — Sister Helen Prejean September’s book, “We’ll Fly Away” by Bryan Bliss (WFA), has special significance to me. This month our Words That Sustain Me ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: We’ll Fly Away – differences in death row experiences

“And maybe most importantly, it is a book that invites readers to ask the question: do I believe a person can ever be beyond redemption? My hope is that, after reading We’ll Fly Away, the only answer can be ‘no’.” — Bryan Bliss. September’s book, We’ll Fly Away (WFA) by Bryan Bliss is a special ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: The Poet X

The book that we feature for the month of August is, ” The Poet X” by Elisabeth Acevedo. This gem of a book is written in verse making for a quick read, an is my book club collaborator Ali’s pick. This story is about a first – generation American fifteen year old girl whose family ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: Peace Like a River

This month’s book, “Peace Like A River” by Leif Enger, is a fantastic book. In it, the author spins a rich, old-fashioned yarn about brotherhood, family, faith and the cosmic battle of good versus evil. As one reviewer put it, “it’s a tale fill of magical plot twists and supernatural flights of fancy.” This book ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: Reflections on “Tattoos on the Heart” – part 3

Chapter 5. Slow Work. This chapter is opened by the story of Omar and his asking how many homies has G buried? Father Greg replied, “Seventy-five, son.” (Today the number would be one hundred and sixty-eight.) To which Omar replied, “Damn G, when’s it gonna end?” And G replied, “Mijo, it will end the minute ... Read More

Words That Sustain Me: Reflections on “Tattoos on the Heart” – part 2

Chapter 2. Dis-Grace. This chapter was a tuff one. Much to my shame, I have been the one who has mistaken another’s suffering for an interruption. And I have been like Carmen, a disgrace to the people who loved me the most. I was a disgrace to my parents, most especially, for living a life ... Read More