new to you friday–success story

Once upon a time there lived a freelance writer who really wanted to attend STORY.

In 2010, because of a generous person, this writer attended the second-annual conference. She heard amazing speakers like Charlie Todd, Andrew Klavan, Jason Fried and David McFadzean. She sat at the feet of legendary UCLA screenwriting professor Richard Walter (literally–there was no more room on the couch). She got some free stuff and met Ben Arment and heard Amena Brown share one of her newest poems at an Elements event at the city’s “premiere gay and lesbian bar” before …


new to you friday–peace and quiet

Phyllis Tickle, founder of the Religion department at Publishers Weekly and author of many books including the Divine Hours series, a collection of prayers for seasons of the year and of church life, spoke at this year’s Q conference in Chicago. I wasn’t able to attend (by the way, if anyone wants to pay my way to next year’s event, I won’t say no) but based on the tweets coming from my friends who did, she had a number of good things to say about spiritual practices like fasting, communion, sabbath and fixed-hour prayer.

As I noted in the original post, there is a growing …


I was walking down Michigan Avenue in Chicago on Saturday afternoon when a fire truck sped by, sirens echoing off the tall buildings. A few seconds later several police cars flew through the intersection and turned right to follow the fire truck toward the lakefront. Within minutes another five trucks, three ambulances, and countless CPD cars also roared east.

It’s pretty normal to witness a parade of emergency vehicles in a big city, but it’s not at all typical to see fighter jets circling at the same time. Although this particular crisis seemed to be drawing a higher-than-usual number of response teams, we …