Commentary

This is all commentaries on WVPE including Friday's Michiana Chronicles Feature and occasional one-time contributors.

Ken Smith

My story begins 23 years ago. I was at a conference a couple of blocks from the White House. Nobody had cell phones, but somehow word reached me to call my parents’ house in Missouri. Not a good omen. In a dim alcove off the hotel lobby I found a pay phone and tapped out their number. My sister answered and said, “Let me get Mom.” That wasn’t a good sign either. When my mother came on, she said, “Take a deep breathe, son,” and tethered to that pay phone I listened.

Spring Sap

Apr 14, 2017
April Lidinsky

When your parents name you April, and your birthday is smack in the middle of this luscious month, you just can’t help but be an optimist. I have always been more Dylan Thomas than T.S. Eliot.  My whole childhood, when teachers turned the classroom calendars to “my” month, my heart would swell like the crab apple blossoms tapping on the windows of Green Mountain Elementary.

Check Your Travel App

Apr 7, 2017
Sid Shroyer

The toll road was a nuisance last weekend…down to one lane for repair work much of the way to the last toll booth. The Notre Dame entrance is closed, for repair. I guess everyone knew that but me.        

I should have checked the app before Mrs. Shroyer and I left. I like to head up Twyckenham to Douglas and over to the toll road, now; it’s a scenic, by South Bend standards, way to get out of town. It’s just as easy, though, to head out Sample to 2 and 20 all the way to I-94. I would have gone that way if I had checked the app.

Heather Curlee-Novak

I’ve been struggling to find joy lately. I took the Facebook app off of my phone so I could control my exposure to…All The Things. I am staying engaged, I am in the resistance, but I need to keep myself balanced and encouraged.  I look for big ways to make an impact.  I am in groups and I am writing letters and I am making calls.  I marched in a local women’s march.  I am doing what I can to be positive but it is hard and I am often afraid.

Death from a Distance

Mar 29, 2017

I’ve never been one for murder mysteries, but lately I’ve spent much of my “down time” watching the kind of British detective dramas that run on PBS stations – series like Inspector Lewis and Grantchester. In such shows, idyllic English villages and towns suffer an astonishing number of grisly murders.

It’s Monday morning, and I have just survived an entire weekend at downtown Elkhart’s first ever Comic Con.  What’s a Comic Con, you ask?  Well,  it is a comic book convention – thus the name – at which thousands of fans gather to meet celebrities, buy collectibles, listen to guest speakers, watch movies, network with other fans, and dress up as their favorite comic characters. 

Sarah McGee / Flickr

Not so very long ago, I came across a quote from the playwright, John Guare, “Writing is another kind of performance. You get to play all the parts,” he said. Sounded like just the ticket, so, as they say, I’m gonna write/tell/perform a little story for you here.

Symphony of the Ring

Mar 3, 2017

Now. Where to begin? Ah yes.

Why Poets Rhyme

Feb 17, 2017
Ken Smith

My hobby last year was writing little six-line poems. That was a surprise. Even more surprising was that I wrote ninety of them. They each have a rhyming pattern modeled after a very moving poem by W. H. Auden called “Epitaph on a Tyrant.” Auden wrote it in the 1930s about Hitler and Stalin and Mussolini. He was trying to figure out how a tyrant’s brain works. His poem goes like this: Epitaph on a Tyrant. Perfection of a kind was what he was after, and the poetry he invented was easy to understand.

April Lidinsky

I knew I was in trouble when a gentle question floated by another activist cracked the thin shell of tension holding me together, and I burst into manic laughter. The question was: What are you doing for self-care?

Speak Peace

Feb 3, 2017
Heather Curlee-Novak

I am reeling lately from the social media frenzy of friends and fake news and divisive politics and all of the powerful words from a Martin Luther King Day workshop I attended at Valparaiso University.  Forgive my fumbling through a few of these thoughts as I try to figure out how to find peace and live well in our current world and circumstances.

God is My Co-Pilot

Jan 27, 2017
Columbia Pictures

Telling stories became a part of my routine when I was teaching. Over time these stories developed into what you might call stock pieces … I had a few in my pocket for when transcendentalism and agreement in number just weren’t cuttin’ it that day……and in each telling they evolved….the plot arc is bending toward justice…..

I know the importance of detail, and in teaching writing I told high school students that they should consider being uncertain in a memory detail as a story-telling opportunity, an opportunity to remember things the way they ought to be.  

This week is framed by two events that seem to be in tension with one another. Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and today is the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. The simmering tension between these two events boiled over in the conflict between Donald Trump and Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights leader John Lewis. That conflict reveals a troubling trend in American culture.

The Dutch Luthier - WordPress.com

The trouble with teaching is sometimes your students force you to learn things you never wanted to learn.  For some, this can mean new forms of exercise – like piloxing – for others, mastering technical terms in foreign languages. For me, the unsettling territory into which I have been thrust this month is… the banjo.

Going Home

Jan 6, 2017
Christopher Manson

“Over the river and through the wood, to grandfather’s house we go,” so says the 120-year-old song. (Although I always thought that it was Grandmother’s house, but I seem to have got that wrong—more about that later.) Given the song’s New England roots, its age, and the mental pictures of folks in horse drawn sleighs, it’s amazing that it continues to work here in fly-over land in the 21st century. Turns out that here in the Midwest, there still are rivers and woods and grandfathers too, for that matter. And, trucking off to visit folks for the holidays happens as well.

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