Ik Marvel is forgotten today, although in his own day he was an inspiration to such literary luminaries as Washington Irving and Emily Dickinson.  What other fate could befall a modest essayist who began his popular Reveries of a Bachelor (1850) with this sentence: “This book is neither more nor less than it pretends to be: it is a collection of those floating Reveries which have, from time to time, drifted across my brain.”  Yet the floating Reveries of Marvel (Donald Grant Mitchell) have a marvelous power to settle in the imagination, take root, and send forth shoots and flowers.  Consider his quietly rapturous description of the great early nineteenth-century ideal of domestic bliss. Continue reading

Home, Sweet Home


“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”
― William Faulkner

My family tells me that I don’t travel well. For me the best part of any trip is coming home. I think I’ve gotten worse as I’ve aged. I used to be a happy camper. Something must have happened to me along the way.

Historically, America has valued the home and made great efforts to be sure that more of her citizens were homeowners. Owning a home has tremendous economic, political and social benefits for everyone (even those who don’t). The higher the rate of home ownership, the better it is for our society. Currently, home ownership in America is at an 18 year low. Our economic misfortunes are still defeating us, especially at home.

Home is a physical location where we hang our hat and rest our head. But it is more than that. It is a physical place that serves as ground zero for the formation of our most basic human relationships. It is the physical environment in which we construct the most intimate and essential experiences of our lives. Home is a refuge where we escape and find solace from the chaos and corruption that is outside.

Recently we had a water leak in our home. The damage caused us to have to undertake major repairs. Two things happened that reminded me how important home is and all the ways that I take it for granted. You’ve probably had similar experiences. Continue reading