Abby Zwart

Abby Zwart (’13) teaches high school English in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She spends her free time making lists of books she should read, cooking, and managing the post calvin.

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The West

I’ve never quite understood the call of the West, a siren song so strong that some will risk—and lose—their lives to follow it.

My Fair-feather Friend

It was decided, with enthusiasm on their parts and mild curiosity on mine, that we should have a bird in the house.

Go Forth

A lot of commercials lately seem to be taking on social issues, and I think it’s important for us to see our world through the lens of an advertiser.

Double Dutch

The dancers separate into groups of eight and begin the dance. There’s nothing quite like the sound of hundreds of wooden shoes clomping along the asphalt in rhythm. Or the semblance of rhythm.

Text START for Help

In training, we were taught to give specific words to people’s feelings, to say “devastating” instead of “sad” or “furious” instead of “angry.” But those are just fancy words for the fairly small and basic set of emotions we face as humans.

The Other Side

It’s Saturday morning and I’m back at my old high school, preparing for a day full of those meta sort of moments when you get to sit on the other side of the table. Those times when you get a totally new perspective on something you’ve done a hundred times.

The Heavens

On the outskirts of town, there’s no telling where the snow ends and the sky begins. It’s hard to hear the glory today.

Little Light

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

Master of None

Maybe it’s a sign of our times that I was waiting for this genuine and heartwarming scene to turn ironic, but it just didn’t ring true.

The Company You Keep

And that’s where it all started. Talking to myself, that is. And if you know me well, you might be surprised by this revelation. That’s because I’m sneaky about it.

Bread and Wine

The religious pretense and mumbo jumbo is kept to a minimum. But that’s hard to keep up when we get to communion. Because it is weird.


Confetti from a dropped and spilled 3-hole punch; Crumpled 8.5×11 sheet, blank and inexplicably wet; Crumpled 8.5×11 sheet, Wednesday’s homework, unfinished

I Ate the Whole World

I went to Paris and sat on the grass in a park outside the Tuileries. I ate cold salty ham and creamy brie on a baguette that tasted like bread is supposed to taste.

Forward and Back: 2015

When we started the post calvin, we weren’t exactly sure how it would turn out. Now, with two years in the bag, we couldn’t be happier.

Line in the Sand

These books tend to be easy and engaging. They’re not about heavy topics, and they don’t make us think too hard or reread every other sentence.

Waiting for Superman

It can feel like us vs. them, heroes vs. villains, teachers vs. everyone who doesn’t understand how hard it is to explain the present participle to kids who can barely read.

Faking It

Faking it, I would argue, is actually the only way we’ll make it anywhere. So few of us are born with natural, shining pearls of talent that don’t need refinement.

House of the Lord

There is one space that makes me nervous. It’s not a space we hear a lot about or a space we have pictures of. I can’t rearrange it or make sure it’s painted my favorite colors.

A Letter To My Cell Phone

It’s also pretty distracting to have you around. You’re always buzzing and beeping. Those little red flags you throw up tempt me like a bull in the hot Spanish sun.


And I can’t stop imagining a world—an extraordinary, beautiful world—in which we all have the reed of goodness at our centers instead of a spine.

The String of Time

I wouldn’t say I liked fantasy as a child. What I liked were stories that started out in real life, then took a turn for the magical. I liked the prospect of our world with improvements.

Talk the Talk

Sometimes there’s just no better word than “discern” or “redeem” or “vocation,” and it slips out. Maybe you embrace it, or maybe, like me, you cringe.

Wild and Free

A serving of oatmeal eaten straight out of the brown paper package gets a five out of ten stars when eaten in my kitchen, but eleventy-twelve stars when eaten atop a mountain.


One year I was Santa Claus. That worked pretty well. But then the next year I couldn’t think of anything, so I just went as Mrs. Claus. People still thought I was Santa.

A Wind

a wind has blown the rain away and blown / the sky away and all the leaves away, / and the trees stand. I think i too have known / autumn too long


I miss the energy. The companionship. The routine. I miss the rah rah school spirit and the constant activity and the sense that I was always accomplishing something (seemingly) important.


But now that everyone and his mother uses them to serve cocktails and curl their hair, I think we have to put them under the microscope.

Theme: Thirty Things

You might call it “stuff” or “junk” or “clutter,” but I know there are many of us in this world who take genuine pleasure from a fine teacup or an antique camera or a good pair of broken-in leather shoes.