Present Ghost

Telling stories


Thoughts on Faith



I hadn’t seen Dial glycerin soap since I was in grade school, so when I did I could almost taste the imitation raspberry flavor. I grinned, remembering being eight years old and holding onto this little secret: it didn’t taste all that bad. My mother said I had to sit on her toilet think about mouthing off and cussing at my older sister. Instead of thinking about losing my temper or using bad language, I compared the soaps I’d tasted over my cursing career. Continue reading “Soap”

Shopping for Soul


My very first public post on Present Ghost came from sitting in a bathtub on a fall break from teaching school. Since then, it has been my most popular post to date. Through several follow-up pieces* on this site, I formed a series about several unconnected experiences with strangers during shopping experiences.

I was lucky enough to take those pieces to distill the message into one essay for Christ and Pop Culture this month. Go check it out. While you’re at it, check out the rest of the site. It has a lot of insightful articles regarding—you guessed it—Christ and pop culture.

*You can read the second here, and the links to the other stories at the bottom.

Idols, Part I


I remember very little about being strapped in a straightjacket. The lights were bright, I was swallowing lots of my own blood, and every time I screamed for one of my parents to rescue me, I swallowed more. Continue reading “Idols, Part I”

Dead Birds


Over the period of one year, it seemed like I could never get away from dead birds. They were everywhere.

On the ground, two wings lay flattened in the sun, black and two feet apart—no body between. The body had been smashed, rolled over by a pitiless tire and obliterated; but the wings were left behind to create a great space separating the disembodied extremities on the hot pavement.

Continue reading “Dead Birds”

On My First Tragic Hero


When I was four, I fell in love with Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands. At that age, most little girls would have probably been scared of him. I thought he seemed like a really sad but overall good guy. Some time in January, I found myself faced with having to answer a student about my favorite movie. Edward Scissorhands came tumbling out, and a few months later, so did this.

Thanks to the crew at Christ and Pop Culture, I was motivated to work out exactly why it was so important to me.

Please check out the article, and other work on the site. The magazine version is even better—sans ads!

Featherdusting Butterball

row 1

Snack time for our half-day kindergarten class was meticulously organized and acknowledged with the utmost ceremony. Our teacher printed a list on pink or green copy paper a month or two in advance, assigning children the task of bringing the refreshments. On the day that the child brought his Little Debbie’s zebra cakes or her homemade chocolate chip cookies, he or she would also be designated the “fairy duster” after nap time. The fairy duster would be awakened early during the nap time, given an old feather duster, and honored with the task of dusting fellow classmates so they would wake up and return to their desks for snack. Continue reading “Featherdusting Butterball”

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