Archives For Walter Wangerin


The Book of Memories


A Feature Review of 

Everlasting is the Past: A Memoir
Walter Wangerin, Jr.

Paperback: Rabbit Room, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  

Reviewed by Joe Krall
*** Read our interview with
Walter Wangerin, about this book


A lonely, despairing graduate student walks and walks out into the countryside till he finds himself before a flock of sheep grazing, placid and content. He is filled with rage, wanting nothing more than to run at them, scare them into stumbling – until a farmer steps out of the woods, makes a “nickering sound in his throat,” and leads the sheep away. The student is alone once more.


“The sight of the sheep had broken my soul. I said, ‘I want to be a sheep.’”


So prays Walter Wangerin, Jr., in his memoir Everlasting is the Past (Rabbit Room, 2015).  There are many beautiful passages in this book, but as for me, this short passage, in its lyricism, in its precision (“nickering” – what a fine adjective!), in its poignancy and spiritual power, is by far my favorite. In our recent interview with him, Wangerin mentioned that he had been thinking about “the episode with the sheep” for a long time. His thoughtfulness shows: the passage, jewel-like in its beauty, caught me on first reading, and reflected its light on what comes before and comes after.

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Learning to Tell Stories
An Interview with Walter Wangerin, Jr.

By Joe Krall

ERB intern Joe Krall recently had the opportunity to chat on the phone with Walter about his new memoir:

Everlasting is the Past

Rabbit Room Press, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

An extended version of this interview will appear in our Fall print issue.
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ERB: You’ve written both fiction and nonfiction that has impacted many, many people. In Everlasting is the Past, you chose to tell three inter-connected stories – your story of doubt and finding faith, your story of call, and the story of Grace Lutheran Church. What motivated this memoir, and why did you structure the memoir as you did?

WWJ: Well, I suppose this is something I’ve thought about for a long time, especially the depression that I felt in graduate school, and then that whole episode with the sheep. It seemed to me, by now, a natural thing to present that story, and to make it a kind of a hinge, between what goes before it and the events that follow – parts two and three. But there was not a time when I suddenly said, “Oh! Let me write this.” I think it was always just somewhere in the back of my mind.

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If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
– Mother Teresa,
born this date,1910   Tweet this ]

Poem of the Day:
On Righteous Indignation
G.K. Chesterton
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Kindle Ebook Deal of the Day: 
Ragman and Other Cries of Faith
by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
Only $1.99!!!  Tweet this ]

*** NOTE: This stated price is for the United States. Unfortunately, this offer may or may not be available in other countries. Sorry!

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The Wake Up Call – August 26, 2014