The Sewanee Conglomerate
Named for the uppermost rock formation in Sewanee's corner of the Cumberland Plateau, the Sewanee Conglomerate is the magazine's blog. Check here for short pieces about books and current events written by SR staff and guest contributors.
Morality, justice, we have far too little of those, far too much of the kind of toxic fantasizing that kills people, destroys families, ruins communities. When the spell breaks, the trance shatters—when at last we realize we’ve been sold a bill of goods—there’s gonna be hell to pay.
The sunrises, the colors, the sound of a deluge, exotic and threatening. Will this look, in retrospect, like a mistake, or luck?
The doctor took one look at my boy’s hands and asked how often he had been using “sanitizer.” I nodded at my boy to let him know it was fine, be honest. And so he said, “A lot,” then said he “only didn’t want to get sick.”
We all only don’t want to get sick, now.
For years now—over a drink, or at dinner—I’ve heard people wonder aloud whether or not America, riven as it is with division, would be able to pull together again if it was hit with a major crisis like a Pearl Harbor or September 11. So far, it seems as though people are. It won’t last forever, and it won’t need to. But right now, it’s happening in gestures as small as a cup of coffee.
Admittedly, our founding forbears intended our democracy to be both solid and precarious at the same time. E pluribus unum, et cetera. Maybe you could never tell Americans what to do. But there’s no good sense that’s in any way common anymore.
I want my marching orders. I want to enter the fray, to storm the beach, like my father did. I want a big task, which probably means I’m ignoring a hundred small ones. Maybe that’s the job I’ve been slow to identify: Maybe we all need to make a list of things that we can do.
If anything, this has been a weird celebration of international strength in places that many times don’t get the credit.
I’m telling you, 2020 has been a crazy year, man.
Tonight, we’re trying for a do-over. More drinks. Homemade pizza. This time, we’ll watch a movie that has nothing at all to do with zombies or pandemics or daughters. I’m leaning toward one of those old Agatha Christie films, Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot with his ridiculous mustache, solving some upper crust-y mystery in some Technicolor locale. Something light. Something pretty. Something reassuring.