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Visions of Light

by Jo Page December 13, 2012


  On Dec. 13th, St. Lucy’s Day, in many Scandinavian countries and in Lutheran communities in the United States, young girls wearing crowns of candles and bearing plates of saffron buns—to represent St. Lucy’s gouged-out eyes—come ...

Hope Abounds

by Jo Page November 14, 2012


  Two years ago my daughters and I lost a woman we loved as a mother and grandmother, though she was neither to us. Not closer than kin, but closer than a friend, her loss was ...

Sinners and Saints

by Jo Page October 31, 2012


  It’s All Saints Day today, November 1st. You say don’t know what All Saints Day is? Well, that’s no problem. Because I am here as your Official Guide and Expert Resource Consultant so that you may ...

The Apple of My Eye

by Jo Page October 3, 2012


OK, not that we’ve all had our fears allayed about the bacon shortage (there’s no need to go out and stockpile the freezer), let’s talk about the much more real apple deficit that you may ...

Getting Past Stupid

by Jo Page September 19, 2012

  If there’s one thing I understand, after 20 years as an ordained clergy, it’s that faith is irrational. If there’s another thing I understand, it’s that irrationality, while it may provide comfort, insight, inspiration—making art ...

The Grand Tour

by Jo Page September 7, 2012


Just having bought this new-old house—what I’ve come to think of as a piece of history—a real vacation was out of the question this summer. But I wanted some kind of journey to mark the ...

Dog Days

by Jo Page August 23, 2012


  I’m sitting here in a pool of sunshine, sky as blue as faded denim, tree branches swaying in the lazy summer breeze, June bugs buzzing and squirrels hornily cavorting. Doesn’t that sound bucolic? A real ...

Sexing the Classics

by Jo Page August 8, 2012


  You’d think with all the sex there is in the world of literature—Poe with his necrophilia, Hawthorne with his adultery, Mailer and Miller and Updike and Roth with all manner of erotic expressiveness—that we wouldn’t ...


by Jo Page July 25, 2012

I was driving, and didn’t catch who was being interviewed on YNN Monday around noontime, but the man was describing how much safer the public would be if more people carried guns. What he said ...

Define and Conquer

by Jo Page July 11, 2012

When Emily Dickinson wrote “Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the Soul” I think she comes closer to a definition of hope than Julian Baggini, a British philosopher, does in his lips-tightly-pressed-together piece, ...

Cheesy Temptations

by Jo Page June 27, 2012


For the most part I’ve come to accept my guilty pleasures. I’m only a little bit ashamed that I rock out in the car when “Man, I Feel like a Woman,” is on the radio. ...

Treasured Relics

by Jo Page May 30, 2012


The Casper doll is old and wobbly and very discolored—not the ectoplasmic white he once was. And when you pull the string on the side of his neck (and you must do this very gently) ...

The Marrying Kinds

by Jo Page May 16, 2012


  In his widely-touted and widely-covered commencement address at Liberty University last week, Mitt Romney emphasized that “marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman,” perhaps with the knowledge that when some people hear ...

A Tree Is a Tree

by Jo Page May 2, 2012


The last time my older daughter visited, she and her younger sister had a conversation about Shel Silverstein’s renowned book, The Giving Tree. Whether you’re five, 45 or much older, you probably know The Giving Tree. But ...

I Am . . . I Said

by Jo Page April 18, 2012

  It is true that I don’t like labeling. I don’t just mean in the racial-profiling, gender-stereotyping, bigoted kind of way. Nobody likes that (well, nobody is supposed to like that, but that’s another column). I ...

Unhappiness Is . . .

by Jo Page March 22, 2012

A word about unhappiness. First and foremost, of course, we’re not supposed to talk about it. I mean, you can if some unforeseen or protracted tragedy strikes and it is safe to verbalize your fears and ...

Let Me Tell You a Story

by Jo Page March 8, 2012

I’ve always been intrigued by the process of making, hearing, charting and evaluating stories. Because stories aren’t just one kind of thing. They are many kinds of things. There are true stories, short stories, fabrications, misrepresentations, ...

The Inkwell of Loneliness

by Jo Page February 22, 2012

I realize it’s Britainand they do things differently over there, but I found myself intrigued by a piece from The Guardian in which the author Teju Cole (Open City) selects his Top Ten novels of ...

Pop Quiz

by Jo Page February 9, 2012


  Every year, late January, I buy a desk calendar in which I record the names of agents I query, journals I send stuff off to over the next twelve months. To be perfectly honest, it ...

The House That I Live In

by Jo Page January 25, 2012

  I’m always house-hunting. I don’t remember the exact number, but I’ve lived at more than thirty different addresses, including an apartment on York Street in Denver whose address was 1234. Our phone number was 0123. Locations ...

The Doctor is Real In

by Jo Page January 12, 2012


I have just finished watching, over the course of a week, the 2005 season of Dr. Who. I  didn’t do this voluntarily, of course. At least, not at first. I was cajoled, coerced and cornered ...

Wonderful Christmastime

by Jo Page December 14, 2011


  All these people who try new things at Christmas? I don’t get it. ’Tis just not the season. Christmas is not the time for innovation. It’s the time for repetition. Doing things the same old way ...

Seductive Shopping

by Jo Page November 30, 2011


  Last December I was living in the small seaside town of Rockport, Mass., where Santa arrives by Coast Guard boat and is transported down Bearskin Neck in a vintage fire truck so he can light ...

Our Own Worst Enemy

by Jo Page November 22, 2011


In Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Zone One, main character Mark Spitz is one of an armed team of “sweepers” tasked with taking out any stragglers found in lower Manhattan south of Canal Street: Zone One. ...

Letting Go

by Jo Page November 2, 2011

  I started reading Joan Didion’s book, A Year of Magical Thinking, out of a blend of fear, horror and a voyeurism I didn’t like in myself. In it she details the sudden death of her ...