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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pac-Man Finds God

Posted by on Sun, Dec 29, 2013 at 12:58 PM

In the introduction to the first (and to date only) anthology she ever edited, 2009's Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical, local author Hannah Faith Notess complained about testifying: the evangelical need to tell the story of your fall and rise to Christ in a dramatic narrative. She had been born into an evangelical family, so she had little temptation to rise from. And the call came so early that she was a child before her life as a Christian began. "Before my attempts to invite Jesus into my heart, I was actually less of a sinner than after the fact, having had less time to sin," she wrote. "The truth was I had always tried to love God, and for all my love and God's love, I was really no better or worse than I'd been before." She seemed hurt that she couldn't take part in this Christian tradition.

As an atheist ex-Catholic, I don't know much about evangelical culture, but I can tell you that Notess's debut collection of poetry, Ghost House, is a whole tapestry of testimony. Some of it is explicitly religious, as when she's awakened in the middle of the night by "heartbreak":

It wakes you like the call to prayer you first heard
years ago, unfurled from half a dozen minarets
in a blue city, and when those voices shook the floor
you heard quite plainly, God is great,
what are you doing here?

But more often, the poems in Ghost House have to do with witchcraft, or hauntings, or the sorts of curses that happen in fairy tales:

Sometimes, the girl with a toad for a heart
forgets. Whole hours, it just blinks
from between her ribs, and even beats,
heartlike, till it grows scared or hungry.

Interspersed with the (apparently) biographical poems and the ones that construct a supernatural mythology, there's also the mythology of video games.

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