Each of us creates with our lives a spiritual legacy-a legacy of values, insights, passions, and meaningful actions that can be passed on to those we care about most. The single best carrier of spiritual legacies is stories-the stories that arise from everyone's life experiences and preserve their uniqueness and significance. These letters from a father to his children tell such stories-stories of success and failure, of faith and questioning, of neglected virtues and laughter and love. Many of them are rooted in childhood and adolescence, others in youth and early marriage. They speak honestly and engagingly both to the young and to those who are trying, the best they can, to raise them. Read these stories with your children or by yourself and you will smile in recognition as you remember your own struggles to understand the world and your place in it. Then, as the afterward suggests, tell a few stories of your own.
"Where did you get those eyes so blue?" "Out of the sky as I came through." Christmas week a good many years ago. Not an "old-fashioned" Christmas this year, for there was no snow or ice; the sky was clear and the air pure, but yet without the sharp, bracing clearness and purity that Master Jack Frost brings when he comes to see us in one of his nice, bright, sunny humours. For he has humours as well as other people-not only is he fickle in the extreme, but even black sometimes, and he is then, I can assure you, a most disagreeable visitor. But this Christmas time he had taken it into his head not to come at all, and the world looked rather reproachful and disconcerted. The poor, bare December world-it misses its snow garment, so graciously hiding all imperfections revealed by the absence of green grass and fluttering leaves; it misses, too, its winter jewels of icicles and hoar frost. Poor old world! What a great many Decembers you have jogged through; no wonder you begin to feel that you need a little dressing up and adorning, like a beauty no longer as young as she has been. Yet ever-young world, too! Who, that gazes at March's daffodils and sweet April's primroses, can believe that the world is growing old? Sometimes one could almost wish that it would leave off being so exquisitely, so heartlessly young. For the daffodils nod their golden heads, the primroses smile up through their leafy nests-year after year, they never fail us. But the children that loved them so; the little feet that trotted so eagerly down the lanes, the tiny hands that gathered the flower-treasures with such delight-where are they all? Men and women, some in far-off lands, perhaps; or too wearied by cares and sorrows to look for the spring flowers of long ago. And some-the sweetest of all, these seem-farther away still, and yet surely nearer? in the happier land, whose flowers our fancy tries in vain to picture.
A teenage girl named Shrap is sold into sex slavery by her father in exchange for a business. What follows is a story that is determined to tell itself, and a girl whose body and mind are struggling to become real through this broken telling. A Child Is Being Killed is a vessel that holds the problem posed by philosopher Maurice Blanchot: What does it mean to utter, "A child is being killed"? What is the nature and shape of this kind of non-presence? Is it even possible to speak of? At once dissociated and lucid, Shrap's story stubbornly creates an existence out of Shrap, drawing a complicated portrait of her mind and body amidst a world of men who actively erase her.