Had I gone looking for some particular place rather than any place, I’d have never found this spring under the sycamores. Since leaving home, I felt for the first time at rest. Sitting full in the moment, I practiced on the god-awful difficulty of just paying attention. It’s a contention of my father’s—believing as he does that anyone who misses the journey misses about all he’s going to get—that people become what they pay attention to. Our observations and curiosity, they make and remake us.
—William Least Heat-Moon
Blue Highways has to be one of the most profound literary travelogues I’ve ever read. It’s almost 20 years old now, but his portraits of America — its people and its geographies — remain unequaled and in the process he gives of himself. For all you Kerouac fans, you might have a new hero for an author, or at least one who you can relate to in a whole new way.
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor
The Enduring Life of Eat, Pray, Love
by Nancy Rosenbaum associate producer
Eat, Pray, Love. You can’t walk through an airport without seeing it. Elizabeth Gilbert’s self-described “freakish success” and “mega sensation” has graced the New York Times bestseller list for over three years. Gilbert’s 2009 TED talk on creativity has probably peppered your Facebook newsfeed. And, next week, the movie version of Gilbert’s (played by Julia Roberts) memoir will make its way big screens across the country.
I’ll confess: I only made it through the “eat” portion of Gilbert’s book. I took a literary siesta after all those descriptions of asparagus, pasta, and gelato. But there are a lot of you out there who followed along as Gilbert traveled from Italy to India and then Bali and found inspiration in her words and story.
I’m curious. How did Gilbert’s book touch you? What resonated with you? Tell us how you make sense of its enduring appeal.
Alda Balthrop-Lewis, Production Intern
Catholics of all sorts have been responding to our call for their stories. They’ve been writing to tell us about their experiences in the Catholic Church — the beauty and the pain and the hope they feel belonging to this vast and ancient tradition. We have been amazed by the depth and feeling with which these people have told us their stories. In an upcoming show in May, you’ll hear for yourself the fruit of these insightful voices.
In the meantime, I am reading a new spiritual memoir about one man’s experience on the path to Catholic priesthood. Andrew Krivak spent nearly a decade of his life training to become a Jesuit priest before leaving the order, marrying, and having children of his own. A Long Retreat: In Search of a Religious Life expresses Krivak’s deep love for the years he spent with the Jesuits and offers a window into the complexities of one man’s discernment. Krivak describes difficult issues — especially the challenges of poverty, chastity, and obedience required of all Jesuits — with unblinking honesty. And he gracefully reconciles his deep appreciation for the wisdom of Saint Augustine of Hippo and Saint Ignatius of Loyola with his very modern life. I have been savoring the book.