Inspiration Point

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January 2007      
      To the Reader  


There’s an old limestone quarry in the middle of an island in Lake Erie; you can walk to the rim, sit on a bench among the scrubby pines, and look out over what used to be acres of wasteland, a strip mine for blocks and slabs of pale stone. Now nature has re-asserted herself. Cedar trees have come up between the cracks, so have a riotous variety of bushes, and paths have formed in the gravel. A pond fills one end; people fish from the rocks that jut into the chemically blue water. From your seat on the rim you can see across an interesting and varied landscape. You can be inspired.

Take a deep breath. (“Inspire” at its root means “to breathe in.”) Here we’ve created a verbal landscape for you to explore. We’ve quarried a storehouse of writings, come up with gems, and made a place for you to look out. We want to interest you, to move you, even to bother you, provoke your admiration, reflection, and thinking. (Look out! You might get ideas!) We expect you’ll find possibilities you didn’t know existed.

This first edition of Inspiration Point features essays by students in Jeff Gundy’s Spiritual Memoir class, written in the spring of 2005. We’re delighted with the freshness, honesty, and depth of these works.

Susan Carpenter

To the Bottom
Jana Hammer

Eyes closed so tight, I wouldn't open them for the world. I don't want to see what the depths contain. A lost plastic dinosaur leg, various nets, and most likely a bucket or two. The place where both a go-cart and a mower temporarily parked.

Smallness, Grace, and Innocence
Mandy Tirey

Turning to the box of CD's I picked out "The Greatest Hits of Joni Mitchell." I needed a change in music and I hadn't listened to Mitchell for over a year.

Mere Morckel

"...we ourselves are words of His."  Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

The Japanese believe in language, in Kotodama, the spirit existing in every word that is a physical force beyond definition, letters and pronunciation. It's a legend categorized with Bloody Mary: when you say a word its spirit is summoned into our realm. 


Book Reviews
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All material  is copyrighted to the original authors and may not be reproduced without permission. Violators will be prosecuted.



Expanding and Receding: Living the Tides of Ohio's Climate
Chad Van Buskirk

I have never been to the ocean. I flew over the Pacific when I was twenty, and my family has made the jaunt to Lake Erie on more than one occasion, but I have yet to feel, smell, or taste salty, untamed ocean waters, or see the advance and retreat of the tides. When I was young I often imagined how exciting it would be to live in a place where the landscape changed significantly every several hours, the moon pushing and pulling on Earth's great sloshing aquatic bodies. The impermanence of each grain of sand demonstrating how dynamic the environment is, there would be no chance of getting bored on the beach. 

Bluffton University

The English Club

And Merton Said
Jill Rothe

"Our discovery of God is, in a way, God's discovery of us." Thomas Merton

So here I stand screaming at heavens, "Here I am, come get me and show me the way.  Show me the way to your home through the maze I have created for myself."  I shout at the sky and receive cold rain that soaks my clothes and makes me heavy.  It runs down my cheeks like pretend tears that won't wipe away and I find myself shaking my fist at what I perceive as betrayal.  I feel this betrayal and scorn myself for ever thinking that there was someone to find me in the first place.

Rhapsody with Dark Matter: Driving with Rumi
Jeff Gundy 

" So let us not be sure of anything, only ourselves, only that,so that miraculous beings can / come running to help." -Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi  

I've been talking into this little box with it stuck on pause. But now here I am, going where I am led by the roads and the signs and the map, trying to stay in my lane and in the clear, trying to drive a little too fast without getting punished, trying to pass some of the traffic and let the rest pass me. 

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News & Events

 English Festival April 10 Katrina Kittle

When God Plays Racquetball
Heidi Martin

Only two weeks ago I discovered where the University hides both Racquetball courts. I borrowed rackets and a ball from a guy who dropped the sport to pick up ping-pong, an activity, he claimed, with the same idea but on a smaller scale. "Not as much running," he said.

Heat, Mindfulness, and the Blossom of Peace
Erin Renee Wahl

"Peace is all around us-in the world and in nature-and within us-in our bodies and our spirits.  Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed." Thich Nhat Hanh

In the early hours of the morning I feel the humidity with my toes. It soaks the ancient air, heavy with tradition and history and the condensation I can feel.  The sunlight peeks through the reaching fingers of palm leaves dipping almost imperceptibly in the mid-May breeze.  There is no turning back from the revelation. 

Between Here and There: a few conversations, in the restlessness of January
Anna Roeschley

Ok, Rumi.

       “No one knows what makes the soul / wake up so happy. Maybe a dawn breeze / is blowing the veil from the face of God”…or so you say. And you say that birds are given wings while falling and miraculous beings will come to help us.





On the 12:50 out of Fairfield
Julia Levine

Go ahead.
Say you are not moved by the soul

that looks out of every window,
seven cranes lifted like a train of hours

floating into loss, dusk already sifting
the splintered rafters of your heart.

Say you don't need Heaven, the fictive afterlife
poured with cirrus blue and saints,

to get you through a rape, two deaths,
every lover that left you all alone.

Or say there is not one God,
but a countless shatter of the sacred,

like rain inside a week of rain,
and all the pearly fragments pour down

like desire, too large and brimming
to be held inside one life,

lust like a holy rush of sea
slapping up against the threatened levies

of your flesh, the conductor
singing out the names where longing dwells,

and all the strangers you will never touch
stepping down to stations

swarmed with light.
So, go ahead. Say you are just fine.

Say this is enough, right here, right now.
That you will learn to want

only what you have.
Go ahead. Try.
-Julia Levine, Ask (Tampa, 2003)


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