Archived entries for Brian Volck

Looking at the Real

by Brian Volck

I wanted a stiff dose of contemplative prayer—straight, no chaser—what the late Walter Burghardt called “a long, loving look at the real.” Continue Reading …

Harmonic Resonance

By Brian Volck

I’m used to certain books haunting me long after reading them. Images surface in my mind like flotsam from a derelict ship, and I’m back in that other world, following trodden paths, returning to vistas enlarged by time and the heart’s slow, hidden work. Continue Reading …

“When Doctors Tell Tales”: Brian Volck

I applied to the SPU MFA program in order to find someone to whom my writing was accountable. I found that. What’s more, I found encouragement, inspiration, and friendship—palpable confirmation that I wasn’t alone working in this fraught and fertile intersection of art and faith. Continue Reading …

In Good Company

By Brian Volck

I nearly didn’t come to my first Glen Workshop eleven years ago, when it was held at the rustic and remote Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, New Mexico. A week to work on my writing, however enticing, seemed impractical and self-indulgent. Why should I spend so much time—and money—away from home? Continue Reading …

Wilbert

By Brian Volck

When I stepped out of the Arizona sun into your house, Wilbert, it took awhile for my eyes to adjust. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t notice at first how much older you’ve grown in the past year. You lean back, heavy-lidded, on your couch, while June’s soporific heat conjures a listless silence over the mesa. Continue Reading …

The Mutt and Me

By Brian Volck

Humanity is readily divisible into two groups: those who divide humanity into groups and those who don’t. The wise—even those among the dividers—learn to hold their tongue among the former. More than matters of taste, the position one takes in intractable arguments reveals something of one’s interior life. Continue Reading …

Nature, Alone

By Brian Volck

Scott Russell Sanders and Kathleen Dean Moore shared a stage at the recently concluded Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing. Essayists of considerable skill who share delight in and concern for Creation, the two graced their audience with an hour of wisdom and good words. Continue Reading …

A Writer’s Lent

By Brian Volck

Is it possible to recognize my neighbor’s faults unless I’m similarly wounded? The damnable fruit, after all, comes from a tree of knowledge of good and evil. I can spot a hypocrite because I have been one. To sense the shape of fear means I am afraid. Prejudice is a sickness I know from the inside—all too well. Continue Reading …

Translating Acedia

By Brian Volck

Students of language learn delightful words for which no good English equivalent exists: sehnsucht (German), poshlost (Russian), or duende (Spanish); rich bottomlands of human experience—good and bad—left inexplicably fallow by Anglo-Saxons. Continue Reading …

Writing, Alone

By Brian Volck

Writing, at least writing anything worthwhile, is a lonely business, and I’m a lonely person. Some will surely scoff at that last bit. Others will say I’m whining. After all, I’ve been married nearly twenty-five years to a woman I’m absolutely in love with and I have more friends than any man deserves. Continue Reading …



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