This is the blog of Amy Weldon, Associate Professor of English at Luther College.
I’m a writer, teacher, gardener, former Southern farm girl, and politically progressive Methodist who’s inspired by Pema Chodron, Anne Lamott, Mary Wollstonecraft, Vivian Gornick, Emma Goldman, Hannah Arendt, Frida Kahlo, Zora Neale Hurston, Bette Davis, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and Shakespeare’s sister. I hold a Ph.D in nineteenth-century British literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My fiction, creative nonfiction, and book reviews have appeared in multiple edited collections and journals, including most recently Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America (Ice Cube Press), Midwestern Gothic, and Inch. My essay on teaching Eudora Welty’s short story “A Worn Path” and practices of attention in the creative writing classroom is forthcoming in Teaching Eudora Welty: Twenty-First Century Approaches from the University Press of Mississippi. A sample of my scholarly work (on Anna Letitia Barbauld and the early animal-rights movement) is here. Other work has appeared in Bloom, The Millions, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Carolina Quarterly, and other journals. I also review books for Orion and write about technology, attention, and art, as you can read here.
In 2011, I finished paying off $50,000 of consumer debt (credit cards and car); the process took four years and taught me more than I ever thought possible about money, consumer choice, emotion, and personal independence. This blog charts my ongoing journey through matters of sustainability, spirit, and self-reliance.
These are some of my favorite quotes:
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.” — Thomas Paine, “Common Sense”
“Call a thing immoral or ugly, soul-destroying or a degradation of man, a peril to the peace of the world or to the well-being of future generations; as long as you have not shown it to be ‘uneconomic,’ you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow, and prosper.” – E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered (1973)
“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” – Jane Addams
“Justice is what love looks like in public.” — Cornel West
“Reality—if we use that word to indicate real life, and the way things really are— should always be viewed as a sheet of ice beneath which we, the writers (with our readers in tow) are swimming, trying constantly to punch through, so that we can breathe.” – Rick Bass, “Danger”
“The function of freedom is to free someone else.” — Toni Morrison
“Through the years, I have learned that there is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.” — Steve Martin
“To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause within our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wildness lives by this same grace.” — Terry Tempest Williams
“We know that science and art can be allies. We need far more women in politics. We need a religious view that embraces nature and does not fear science; business leaders who know and accept ecological and spiritual limits; political leaders who have spent time working in schools, factories, or farms and who still write poems. We need intellectual and academic leaders who have studied both history and ecology, and like to dance and cook. We need poets and novelists who pay no attention to literary critics. But what we ultiimately need most is human beings who love the world.” — Gary Snyder
“[I do] not suggest that we can live harmlessly, or strictly at our own expense; we depend upon other creatures and survive by their deaths. To live we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want.” — Wendell Berry
Thanks, y’all, for taking the time to read my work.