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Letter from the Editor

I've just returned from a trip to San Francisco, so the stacks of mail are even larger than usual for a Monday morning. (Not that I'm complaining!) One stack included a copy of Buechner 101: Essays and Sermons by Frederick Buechner, an anthology "choreographed" by Anne Lamott. Turning the pages of this book, I thought about Dr. Arthur Lynip and his wife, Lora, who introduced Wendy and me to Buechner in the late 1960s (we were newly married, and I was a student at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California). We've been reading Buechner ever since. I also thought about Dale Brown, who died after a bike accident in 2014, and a visit that Wendy & I made to Tennessee in January 2008, which I wrote about in the July/August 2008 issue of Books & Culture, in a piece called "The Yellow Leaves." Here are some extracts from that piece. (The Buechner Institute, mentioned just below, is now the King University Institute for Faith & Culture.)

In January of this year, King College in Bristol, Tennessee hosted the inauguration of the Buechner Institute, a faith-and-culture center directed by Dale Brown. Frederick Buechner himself was present, and when he addressed the audience, there was an expectant hush.

The guest of honor, without much preamble, told his listeners that for about ten years he had been unable to complete any substantial writing project. A very quiet auditorium became quieter still. Buechner went on to say that each day he goes out to his "Magic Kingdom," the separate place—set apart from the house—where for decades he has done his writing. There he is surrounded by his magnificent collection of first editions and assorted objects of significance to him. He writes, yet nothing comes to fruition.

Recently, he said, he had sorted through the accumulated fragments of the last few years and found some bits that seemed to stand up on their own, enough to make up a small volume, a miscellany, to be published ...

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