Creating Your Right Life

inspiration & tools for empowered living


On Martha’s Bookshelf: The Good Lord Bird


The Good Lord Bird
by James McBride
I just finished The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride. Then I licked the inside of the cover and looked hopefully for extra pages that may have fallen out onto the floor. That’s how good it is. McBride tells the story of the quixotic abolitionist John Brown, whose activism played a major part in beginning the Civil War, seen through the eyes of a young escaped slave who happens to be a virtuoso storyteller. His brilliant word use manages to make slavery, murder, and war entertaining and often hilarious. I had to stop at least once per paragraph to admire McBride’s sheer jaw-dropping talent. Enjoy!



Lame Animal Totem: Hagfish

Hagfish, also called “slime eels,” are similar to (follow closely, here) extremely slimy eels. Some experts call them “a degenerate type of vertebrate-fish” because they have skulls but no vertebrae. Others just avoid them.  

In addition to its degeneracy, Hagfish energy is spineless, squishy, slithery, and rank. If Hagfish is your totem, don’t assume you must necessarily become a politician. You could also start your own religion, marry a series of rich, aging spouses and drop them off at no-kill shelters, or produce a reality show—whatever requires the least backbone.

If Hagfish shlurps its way into your life, first ask yourself what the hell you’re doing at the bottom of the ocean. Then start to imagine all the ways you can behave immorally while slithering away from responsibility. Park in handicapped zones! Eat the last cupcake! Steal someone’s identity! The trail of slime you leave will give you away, but odds are you’ll just squish merrily on, because no one will ever, ever want to touch you.