Issue 115 |
Fall 2011

Introduction to Susan Falco

The last nonfiction/memoir course I taught at Florida International University last year included a new student, a young woman named Susan Falco. She was the quietest person in the class, yet spoke with authority (quietly) when she spoke. What she wrote was not only memorable—it burned itself into my memory. Her prose seemed to me searing. When she read “Catcher’s Hang,” I could hardly get out a sound to make a comment. I knew my voice wouldn’t hold. I nodded and was able to murmur “Thank you.” I have not read anything like the writing in “Catcher’s Hang” since Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays.

Reading the piece again, months later, it reminds me of a story told to me by a theologian who was also a good writer, Father Henri Nouwen, whose book, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life, has been important to me. Henri said he wanted to write a book about some acrobats he met who traveled with a circus in Europe. He said what they did—their leaps and falls, their grace, their belief that they could soar, that they would fall and be caught—was one of the greatest metaphors for faith that he could imagine. I am sorry he didn’t live to write that book. I am grateful that Susan Falco wrote this story.