Rachel Hile

Rachel Hile lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she is assistant professor in the Department of English & Linguistics at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. She has published articles on Renaissance English literature and has edited a collection of essays, Parenting and Professing: Balancing Family Work with an Academic Career. She lives with her two children. View all Revolving Floor contributions by Rachel Hile.

The Brown Brink Eastward

You read a lot of stories about conversion—St. Paul, St. Augustine, and countless others in the Christian tradition. You don’t come across that many unconversion stories. Perhaps the unconvert lacks fervor in her new non-faith. Perhaps he is embarrassed or wants to leave the gate open for a future return to the fold. Or perhaps the unconvert, by virtue of losing a formerly found faith, recognizes the uncertainty, the potential mutability, of all spiritual states.

I certainly fit into the last category, having found and lost faith so many times over the course of my life that I might liken it to a quartan fever that seizes me in its sweaty arms every few years, only to chill, eventually, in the face of reason or my own stubbornness. When I was 14, following a year of sincere commitment to my Methodist church

“What are ‘factory seconds’ and ‘irregulars’? Factory seconds and irregulars are not necessarily faulty or even of lessened quality, but rather a piece of merchandise with a minor problem (typically cosmetic and easily reparable) that prevents it from passing the quality checks in the inspection process.”

–from essortment: 5 tips for factory outlet shopping.

I am 38 years old. Facebook knows this about me; so does Yahoo! The online game site I registered for so my nine-year-old son could use it—it cares about

How not to begin a story. Like this. Ab ovo—from the egg, from the beginning. In his Ars Poetica, the first-century BCE poet Horace emphasizes the importance of starting a story in medias res—in the middle of things—by giving the example of what not to do: don’t start the story of the Trojan War ab ovo, from the egg from which Helen hatched. No egg, no Helen; no Helen, no abduction by Paris; no abduction by Paris, no Trojan war. Horace seems not even to consider that someone inquisitive like me, someone more interested in excavating beginnings than weaving an action-packed plot, might even want to venture ante ovem, before the egg, to ask why Leda’s children were born out of eggs in the first place. Before the egg, Zeus seduced/raped Leda in the form of a swan, so, appropriately, her children were born from eggs.