1st Place Billings Prize Sermon 2021 | Harvard Divinity School


A reading from Moments of Being, by Virginia Woolf:

“Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me. It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what; making a scene come right; making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we — I mean all human beings — are connected with this; that the whole world is a work…

No lovers, no drugs. No lovers, no drugs. And it’s painful not to touch, yeah it’s painful not to touch. Corona, your crush. Corona, too much. And it’s painful not to touch, yeah it’s painful not to touch. I went to the mountain to be. I wanted her, she wanted me. Returned to the desert to see. Now I’m back in this prison with me. You love her, too much. She loves you, not enough. And it’s painful not to touch, yeah it’s painful not to touch.

“No Lovers, No Drugs” is a music video meditation on the aesthetics…

By Lindsay Sanwald

Composed on October 18th, 2020 for “Climate of Unknowing,” a Harvard Divinity School class taught by Terry Tempest Williams & Dr. Diane Moore.

It’s hard being a time traveler. Everyone calls me First Generation. It’s an odd name, considering all the others who came before me. My oldest knowns crossed the sea on a ship called Faith close to 400 years ago. This is a true story.

My parents: the Acrobat and the Secretary. He worked as a lifeguard in his youth. She almost drowned three times in hers: thin ice, ocean, high school pool. She ended…

By Lindsay Sanwald

An early draft of a larger endeavor, about my past, this present, our future…

The day I cremated my father, I rode the front row of the Cyclone. This is not a metaphor. After witnessing him burn from my living room couch, I got on the F Train to Coney Island, waited in line to sit upfront, and took the roller coaster plunge alone. I like to ride grief into great celebration–a legacy I inherited from an Acrobat.

I was in Brooklyn, my father’s body was in Fort Lauderdale. I had already said my proper living “goodbye”…

A Harvard Divinity School homework assignment for a class taught by Terry Tempest Williams: “Visit the Museum of Natural History. Find an object. Tell a story about beauty and brokenness.”

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The Kronosaurus | Harvard Museum of Natural History

I had a heaven hangover as I wandered these halls last Thursday. A kind of bliss exhaustion from being intellectually overfed all the sweets my mind tooth craves. I arrived at the museum right after a rousing philosophy lecture preached by Brother Cornel West together with his teacher Roberto Unger. Their animated discourse danced around this question: How…

By Idgy Dean

This essay was originally published in Channel The Sun magazine on October 4th, 2018. Photo by Bon Jane from “The Indian Squirrel Dance” music video by Idgy Dean.

Making songs and making drinks follow the same mechanics — it’s dealing with spirits, gathering people in nocturnal seance, hands on the table, hands in automatic action, playing perfect ratios and percussive sounds; din of voices, dens of darkness, most memorable loss of memory, that place we go to fall in love with strangers, to fall out of time; strumming, beating, pouring everything inside of you into the mouths of others, feeding a communal prayer to feel more or less alive.

As much as my aspiring rock star ego longs for the “making it” victory of never having to work…

Lindsay Sanwald

WWW.IDGYDEAN.COM | @idgydean

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