Category: character

  • Living two lives

    Sylvie, a character in Ann Napolitano’s book Oh Beautiful, realizes that she has been “compartmentalizing herself for a long time.” She was keeping secrets, living one life with some people and another life with William, being one person sometimes and another person at other times. Who was she? What did she want? I have compartmentalized.…

  • Allow all ideas

    “If you are an American, you must allow all ideas to circulate freely in your community, not merely your own,” the author Kurt Vonnegut once said.

  • What you pretend

    “We are what we pretend to be,” the author Kurt Vonnegut once said. “So, we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

  • When should you be angry?

    I mentioned that I’m angry and distraught that we have to make major repairs to our home’s foundation and plumbing. The news was shocking, but I am absorbing it—and remembering something my mother said often. “You can tell the size of a person by what makes that person angry.” Yes, the news was terrible. But,…

  • Throw away your anger

    I am angry and distraught that our house needs extensive foundation and plumbing repairs. Yikes! That’s why something I read in the April 26, 2024 issue of The Week was helpful. Write down your angry feelings and then immediately throw the paper away. You’ll feel much better, a Japanese study reports. –Joy

  • Are we active or passive?

    Does what we do make a difference? In his book Trust, Hernan Diaz writes, “Most of us prefer to believe we are active subjects of our victories, but only passive objects of our defeats. We triumph, but it is not really we who fail. We are ruined by forces beyond our control.”

  • We want to forget

    Dallas is erecting a sculpture to honor men and at least one woman lynched in the city between 1853 and 1920. A poem by Tim Seibles is punched into the sculpture’s steel wall. It begins: “These are the things nightmares are made of—ropes, knivers, a torn black face, burning flesh, white mobs, their picnics and…

  • Opal Lee’s new home

    Opal Lee, the grandmother of Juneteenth, was a young girl when white supremacists burned down her family’s home in Fort Worth. Now, in 2024, 85 years later, Lee, 97, will have a new home on the same piece of land where her family’s home once stood. Texas Capital Bank, Trinity Habitat for Humanity and HistoryMaker…

  • The power of the law

    “It may be true that the law cannot make man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important,” said Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Fear and certitude

    “Extremism is a powerful alliance of fear and certitude,” writes Jon Meacham. “Complexity and humility are its natural foes. “Faith and life are essentially mysterious, for neither God nor nature is easily explained or understood. Crusades are for the weak, literalism for the insecure.” Jon Meacham writes about religion in his book American Gospel—God, the…