Category: story & essay

Where Is Here?

A block away there is a plaque tucked away in a front yard filled with so much greenery that the house is almost hidden. Each time I pass, I stop to read, “We would like to acknowledge that we are on the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations in 1784, traditional territory of the…


The Lord & His Woman

  The Gospel according to C. J. Jung   I’ve written a series of articles that transform scholarly articles into the stories they imply. This is an example.  No person owns a sacred story, because a story is sacred only if it is the story of Everyperson. Though the story of Lord Yahweh, the Holy Antinomy, sounds…


Why the “White Man” Can’t Dance

When I was turning 50, I signed up for an African dance course in Boulder, Colorado. Some of the dances, the teacher said, were “social,” some “sacred” or “ritualistic.” One afternoon during class I shorted out. The feet and hips couldn’t remember their assigned movements. The ass wouldn’t shake, and the drummer’s fine rhythms refused…


The Man Who Gave Himself Away

When I retired in 2008, I began giving away stuff. It’s 2020 and I’m still giving things away. What seemed like treasure back then is crap now. At first I resented giving things away, because I enjoyed collecting. Hang around me now, and I’ll be loading you with stuff. Check my front yard, more stuff…


Endings in Ritual Studies

Click here to order from Amazon Endings in Ritual Studies was published in January of 2020, just in time to hit the Covid wall. I couldn’t get an author’s copy of my own book across the Canadian-US border. Endings is a bookend to Beginnings in Ritual Studies. Now in its 3rd edition, Beginnings wears a…


Climate Strikes: Rites of Mourning the Future

by Sarah Pike author of For the Wild: Ritual and Commitment in Radical Eco-Activism Originally published by The Immanent Frame, SSRC On Friday, December 6, 2019, a day of national climate strikes, I heard drums outside my monthly morning meeting at California State University, Chico. Climate strikers from our university and local high schools were…


Ritualizing in the Time of Coronavirus

by Barry Stephenson Dating from the 4th century, Rome’s San Marcello al Corso houses a crucifix that began its famed career by surviving a devastating fire in May of 1519. Three years later, during the height of a plague, friars of the Servant of Mary, disregarding the prohibitions imposed by the civil authorities, carried the…


Ritualizing in a Pandemic World: Masking

On this day, March 11, in the year of 1988, my daughter was born 2011, a tsunami hit Japan disrupting Fukushima Daiichi 2020, Covid-19 was declared a pandemic On other days, in other years, people survived and thrived, died and were memorialized. From 1347-1352, the Black Death (bubonic plague), killed 25 million people, 1/3 of…


Ritualizing in a Pandemic World: Handwashing

Dad’s advice: “Wash your hands, damn it, I told you twice, wash your hands.” Mom’s advice: “Please, please, dear children, wash your hands.” The parents chime in perfect harmony, “You’re not kids anymore.” Mom and dad are busy as winter bees, dozing and doing research on wills, getting their affairs in order, not due to…


Doctored, Honorarily

Ronald L. Grimes The picture shows how the day looked. Here’s how the day began: Five minutes before the procession, I rush to a basement bathroom with explosive diarrhea. The procession is starting. A marshal comes to rescue me as I am washing spots off my robe. I try to orient myself. It’s 2014. This…


Performance is Currency in the Deep World’s Gift Economy

An Incantatory Riff for a Global Medicine Show Prior to publication, this was a script for oral performance. Publication required the decorum, the civilizing influence, of those speed bumps we call paragraph breaks. Even though the original script was not written as poetry, it looked like poetry on the page. It looked that way to…


Disarming Boys

Originally published in The Canopy Review 01 (2019): 10-26. Excerpts read at the Langston Hughes House, Harlem, September 23, 2019. World War II rages as my parents rivet B-24 bombers at Consolidated Aircraft. Home from the graveyard shift, Dad’s teaching me to box. Knees knocked, I’m punching back. Later, he’s equipped me with a toy…


Body & Soul: Stories for Skeptics and Seekers

Readings at Red Sandcastle Theatre in Toronto by authors in Body & Soul: Stories for Skeptics and Seekers, edited by Susan Scott.


Responses to “The backsides of white souls”

Below are responses, edited slightly for clarity, to “The Backsides of White Souls.” There’s nothing like a story told by the Keeper of the House of the Dead!–You cut through life’s rawness and seduce the reader into realizing there’s a moment in each paragraph where they can think to themselves, “I know what he’s talking…


The backsides of white souls

The backsides of white souls Ronald L. Grimes Black History month starts on February 1, so I am re-posting this essay from its original publication in Canadian Notes and Queries (CNQ). A selection of films for Black History Month: National Film Board of Canada. For background on the writing of this essay see “Sleeping with…


Holocaust remembrance

  Remembrance is supposed to be good for a community, but much depends how those who remember actually remember. The Daily Beast reports on Mike Pence’s way of remembering the Holocaust: “Many Jews have pointed out that Pence, who is an evangelical Christian, imposes a Christian narrative on the Holocaust, comparing victims of the Holocaust to Jesus. His tweet…


Which news is the devil’s news?

On January 24, 2018, Pope Francis released a statement about fake news. It’s worth reading even if you are not a Francis fan. As you would expect, it’s a homily (for Protestants, a sermon). His use of the story of Eden’s serpent is engaging. Francis equates the serpent with the Devil. (I would not.) Anyway,…


We croak?

Want to be reminded fives times a day that you’re gonna croak? We Croak will do that for you. Presumably based on an old Bhutanese saying about the secret of happiness, the app sends you wise sayings or poetry or a line to remind you that you should contemplate death at least five times daily….


Mining words

Robert Fullerton, an ex-shipyard welder in Glasgow, says, “Imagine going down into the dirt to find a word that you’re going to elevate up into poetry. That’s mining for me.” Drawing inspiration from the sparks, he imagines them as “wee possibilities or wee ideas,” Fullerton began crafting poems while working at the shipyard. He discovered that his dark, solitary days provided the “perfect…


What about ritual and religion?

When Cailleah was a kid, she complained, “Creativity, creativity, creativity…that’s all I hear in this family. I’m sick of all that C stuff.” Twenty-five or so year later she’s released her first documentary film, She Got Game, and Bryn, his first music album, Room on Ossington. We must have seduced them into creativity and imagination. We can…


How shall we question our big questions?

This bit of musing is an experiment in querying your big question.   Ron is me. Don is Ron playing the Devil.   Ron: Am I going to die? Don: Of course. Silly question. Get serious. Ron: Okay, when will I die? Don: You really want to know that? Don’t you get anxious just waiting for…


Sleeping with the author

by Susan Scott & Ron Grimes first published in The New Quarterly, https://tnq.ca/sleeping-with-the-author/   “When it comes to fighting against white supremacy, it’s not just what you stand for, it’s who you sit with.” –Jamaya Khan, Maclean’s, August 16, 2017 “Now, mind, I recognize no dichotomy between art and protest.” –Ralph Ellison, Paris Review Spring, 1957   Editing…


Bury me where?

I have retired five times. Now I’m blogging about the little things to which life and death appear to be tethered. Some call Big Questions “religious;” others, “spiritual.” Both terms are troublesome, so I try to avoid them. I don’t believe in blogs any more than I believe in what most people call religion. Too…


When is the right time?

Will you finish what you start? Books you can finish, articles too. But blogs? Either they die young or go on interminably. My aspiration for this one is that it will die a timely death. That’s my aspiration for me too: die on time. When is that? Not now, not now. Your business has to…