Essay:  Believing in Movies

Essay: Believing in Movies

Through much of the 20th century, American movies acted as if sex didn’t exist. Oh, they’d hint at it, but film-makers feared being slapped down by those custodians of mainstream cultural mores, the censors. Today, there are no censors, and sex...

Sister Aches and Brother Pains

Sister Aches and Brother Pains

When I wake in the morning, Sister Aches and Brother Pains are there to greet me. Brother Death, sitting on a chair in the corner, gives me a smile and a nod. Sister Aches is dressed in a nun’s long black habit. The thick fabric covers her rotund...

Poem: “Magnificat”

Poem: “Magnificat”

Magnificat By Patrick T. Reardon My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. — Luke 1: 46-55 I am God’s magnifying glass. My heart thrills. I am a worm and no man, but blessed. God of might, God of holiness, God of...

A writing life

A writing life

Richard M. Daley, the mayor of Chicago and the son of a Chicago mayor, is chatting in his private office on the 5th floor of City Hall with Robert Caro and me. I should be asking myself: What am I doing here? I’m just a reporter with the Chicago...

Death books: A list

Let’s talk about death. Okay, I know you’ve got to get to your tennis match. Or cook dinner, or check Twitter, or wash your hair. But, really, let’s talk about death. We live in a culture that aggressively pretends that death isn’t on its way...

The Burnham Plan as literature

The 1909 Plan of Chicago, written by Daniel Burnham and his co-author Edward Bennett, is a great work of American literature. There, I’ve said it. Now, let’s see if I can make my case. Literature is a pretty spongy term. For some people, it means...