Lily Dale: Sunday morning with the spiritualists

by Jared VanDyke

Part two of a five-part series

I spent Sunday morning worrying more about the color of my aura than what outfit to wear to church. If my body projected a white aura—one of suppression and skepticism—then the mediums of The Lily Dale Spiritualist Church would expose me instantly. To the theme of my paranoid nightmares, I’d be subdued, stripped, harvested for sacrificial organs, and fed to their conjured werewolves. Or perhaps they’d dangle me from a tree for spell-casting target practice. Continue reading

Found: a portal to the conservative soul

THE DEPROLIFERATOR — Many Americans believe that, since the end of the Cold War, nuclear war is no longer a threat. Besides, isn’t President Obama tying up loose nuclear ends with his flurry of policy reviews and treaty signings? Others are die-hards for deterrence, understandable since (as I’ve written) it’s the most difficult argument in the world to refute.

The disarmament establishment, meanwhile, dedicates itself to influencing policy but disdains reaching out to the public in any meaningful way. That war is left to latter-day peaceniks, whose campaigns, as fruity as they are fruitless, only turn off the public because they do little to address the fears that drive Americans into outstretched nuclear arms.

Connecting with a public that’s either complacent or frightened requires hitherto untapped reserves of ingenuity. There must be a way, one finds oneself thinking, if we just apply ourselves. I hadn’t gotten around to resorting to prayers — as with many, a last-ditch strategy for me. But, as if in anticipation, they were answered when I came across an interview at the Center for American Progress website with a man who has found a portal to the public on nuclear disarmament. Continue reading

Write "love" and live on

Today is “To Write Love on Her Arm” Day, a time for raising awareness about suicide prevention. In honor of the day, and in memory of those who’ve taken their own lives, I offer you this piece, originally posted at S&R on Dec. 12, 2008.

“Write ‘love’ on your forearm,” my student’s message said.

It seemed an odd request, but it came from someone I admired and respected, and so I read on.

To write “love” on my forearm, it turned out, would make me part of a national movement of forearm-love-writers. The following day was actually the second annual international “To Write Love on Her Arms” Day (TWLOHA), an effort to raise awareness about suicide prevention and offer support to survivors of suicide.

My student’s message directed me to a website that told the story of a nineteen-year-old coke addict, depressed and distraught over the downward spiral of her life, who tried to commit suicide. With a razor, she carved “fuck up” into her left forearm. Continue reading