Mentor Profile #3: Andre Dubus

When I moved to St. Louis I was tired of trying to improve myself through books, trying to assimilate so much Christian information, etc. that I took a break from reading Christian books. During this time I picked up a book an ex-girlfriend had given me called, “Meditations from a Movable Chair”. It is a book of essays by Andre Dubus.

Some of his short stories have been made into movies. Namely: “In the Bedroom” (Story is called “The Killings”), and “We don’t live here anymore” (book is good, but the 2 companion novellas make it fantastic).

There are sub-themes to his literature that involve running, sex, masculinity, marriage, raising children, coming-of-age, etc. But, I think the two things I ‘learned’ from Andre Dubus were to enjoy literature again; just in and of itself to enjoy reading. And he labeled many small gifts in life as sacraments.

Dubus is the first author I read after being sick last year. He is who I pick up if my only goal is relaxation. I have only found one person who likes him even half as much as I do – my old neighbor who is a professor at Webster U (which makes me feel smart that she likes him).

The other thing he mentored me in was enjoying small things. A sacrament, in this sense, is simply a grace or gift. Running is a gift, having a good conversation (especially with my four year old) is a gift, a good drink is a gift. Peter Devries says it this way, “The greatest gift known to man is the recovery of the commonplace: coffee in the morning and whiskey in the evening without fear.” When I am here (in a place of enjoying ‘the commonplace’) it is partly because of the writing of Andre Dubus.

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