Atheist to Catholic–Two Brainy Women Get Religion

Outdoor portrait of Jennifer Fulwiler, author of "Something Other than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It"

Software programmer Jennifer Fulwiler resisted God–then went from atheist to Catholic

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

An atheist friend of mine once confessed that if he were to give up atheism and go over to God, he’d do the thing whole hog – he’d become some kind of born-again, true believing Christian.

Many people, including lots of atheists, want that kind of clarity and certitude. Me, I’m good with murky. [Read more...]

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Where Author Richard Rodriguez Sees the Face of God

Richard Rodriguez, author of Darling, signs copies of the paperback at Sagrada bookstore, Oakland, CA/. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Richard Rodriguez signed copies of Darling at Sagrada. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

“Why do you believe in God?” Kaya Oakes wanted to know. The question was her opening salvo to fellow author Richard Rodriguez on a sunny September afternoon in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, California. [Read more...]

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Tulips and Sex — Writing as If Everyone I Know Were Dead

Two deep pink tulips bloom at Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

Deep pink tulips at their peak — just opening. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I want to write about tulips today. I don’t want to write about sex. The trouble is, for me, writing about tulips means writing about sex: something about their juicy curves brings erotic metaphors to my particular mind.

I thought that once my mother — and father — were no longer alive [Read more...]

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Books I Might Read If I Weren’t So Danged Busy Writing My Own

book jackets on a desk include Pastrix, Consider the Birds, Mama's Child, Hidden Lives, The Fourth Gospel,  Photo by BF Newhall

Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

So many books. So little time. And a manuscript deadline looming so near.

Titles at the Top of My Gotta-Read List

Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to the Birds of the Bible, by Debbie Blue, Abingdon, $16.99 paper.

Debbie Blue is a wonderful preacher and spiritual director. She helped me shape the book that’s keeping me from reading hers. Debbie could write about the cracks in the sidewalk and I would find it inspirational. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about – birds. [Read more...]

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Writing the Personal Essay — Forget the Good, Go for the Bad and the Ugly

A star magnolia blossom and a bud, Oakland, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

A sure sign that story has potential is that it looks like the buds on our star magnolia tree — rough, prickly and off-putting — until given a chance to blossom. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

When I sit down to write a personal essay or a blog post, I start with a story. I look around in my life for a moment that I can’t let go of. A story that won’t let go of me. Usually it’s something painful or surprising, a prickly story that makes me uncomfortable, sad, worried [Read more...]

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