A Literary Feast

Posts by Philip C. Maurer

The Mouth’s Delights

Posted on April 18th, 2013

The savor of some favored food: sage stuffing, say. Braised scallops.   The shaping of a spoken word: echo in a cavern.   Your lips upon your lover’s lips: You taste his pulse. It fills you.

Rax Redux

Posted on February 14th, 2013

Goodbye, Uncle Al. You attended all of my first six birthday parties, and we had a blast. I thought you’d never pass away until the end of things, some Jesus of the roast beef restaurant. But you left, and it hurt. Well, I swear I never loved you anyway–good riddance, you old damn reptile. I used the water bottle you gave me all the way into middle school. It sweated mercilessly on hot days, one more awkward accoutrement to prevent me from feeling comfortable in gym class. There were the double-layered nylon shorts (I still don’t know if they ever did fit), the deodorant from Big Lots–Jovan White Musk for Men, and your stupid, oversized “Rax” water bottle. “Rax,” Uncle Al? Really? What kind…

Responses to the Curious Reader Who May Not Yet Have Watched Babette’s Feast

Posted on November 24th, 2012

Yes, I was raised Lutheran. Despite our church’s cushioned pews and climate control, we shared a certain earnestness with this film’s “little flock.” Worship, like life, was to be taken very seriously: grace may have saved, but actions mattered. It’s not surprising that our congregation, like the film’s, at times became “testy and querulous….Little schisms erupted.” In 2009, our denomination began allowing gay, partnered clergy to serve. Some indignant parishioners promptly started their own congregation, joining a ramshackle Lutheran body that was liberal enough to ordain women, but conservative enough to exclude gays. No, my family never hired a French servant—probably because no French servant ever came to our door seeking asylum. If one had, and if after fourteen years she prepared a feast…

Grandma’s Feather Bed

Posted on September 17th, 2012

Listening to my mom play guitar at our family’s cottage as our numerous guests sang along, I was only half enjoying myself. The other half was looking forward to a time when I could think back wistfully on my mom playing guitar at our family’s cottage as our guests sang along. I felt so removed from my daily existence that I even, for a time, narrated my life to myself, embellishing it with melodrama–“He turns the doorknob slo-o-owly”–as though it were a dime-store thriller, and I some hapless hero. I was ten years old. Every summer, the families of my mom’s Bible Study cohort, or her folk music ensemble, would visit our family’s cottage for a weekend. Each family was responsible for cooking one…