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Broken Vessels (1991)
- Proportion is all; and, in sports at school, I lost it by surrendering to the awful significance of my self-consciousness. Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.
- Under the Lights.
- Travel by air is not travel at all, but simply a change of location; so my wife and daughter and I went to San Francisco by train, leaving Boston on a Wednesday morning in June and, then after lunch in New York, boarding Amtrak’s Broadway to Chicago.
- Railroad Sketches.
- These women, like writers, have no time clocks to punch, no waiting boss. I write in the morning before teaching, and neither these women nor I care about the morning commuter traffic. There is no place we have to be. We already are where we have to be, facing ourselves. Both of us, without the prodding of a paycheck or the loss of a job, face only time itself, and our responsibility to use it as best we can.
- Of Robin Hood and Womanhood.
- Very early, I understood that women were required to be other than what they were.
- Of Robin Hood and Womanhood.
- ...and I believed that everyone but those kneeling in front of me saw, and that was the source of my vanity and my cowardice: always I believed everyone was watching me.
- The Judge and Other Snakes.
- ...my belief in the sacrament of the Eucharist is simple: without touch, God is a monologue, an idea, a philosophy; he must touch and be touched, the tongue on flesh, and that touch is the result of the monologues, the idea, the philosophies which led to faith; but in the instant of the touch there is no place for thinking, for talking; the silent touch affirms all that, and goes deeper: it affirms the mysteries of love and mortality.
- On Charon’s Wharf.
- Short story writers simply do what human beings have always done. They write stories because they have to; because they cannot rest until they have tried as hard as they can to write the stories. They cannot rest because they are human, and all of us need to speak into the silence of mortality, to interrupt and ever so briefly stop that quiet flow, and with stories try to understand at least some of it.
- Into the Silence.
- Living in the world as a cripple allows you to see more clearly the crippled hearts of some people whose bodies are whole and sound. All of us, from time to time, suffer this crippling. Some suffer it daily and nightly; and while most of us, nearly all of us, have compassion and love in our hearts, we cannot of will not see these barely visible wounds of other human beings, and so cannot or will not pick up the telephone or travel to someone’s house or write a note or make some other seemingly trifling gesture to give to someone what only we, and God, can give: an hour’s respite, or a day’s, or a night’s; and sometimes more than respite: sometimes joy.
- A Woman in April.
Selected Stories (1995)
- For ritual allows those who cannot will themselves out of the secular to perform the spiritual, as dancing allows the tongue-tied man a ceremony of love.
- A Father's Story.