The things I wrote in 2023 that I like the best

Fast away the old year passes! I didn’t hit either of the two goals I set for myself professionally this year (to write the children’s book that’s been buzzing around in my head, and to publish on a new platform); but I did do a lot of writing that I feel good about, and I did start a new series that I feel great about. (And I did start the children’s book.)

I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading all the weird messy things that pass through my head and wriggle around on the page, trying to take some kind of coherent form; and I thank you for taking the time to leave comments and even to support me financially. I am so grateful to be able to write for a living, and to choose so much of what I write about. 

Here are my favorite essays from 2023, and I’m sorry there’s a lot of them! I do write a lot. 


My whole Catholic artist series for Our Sunday Visitor. I’m so grateful to be having this experience of chatting with working artists every month. I’ve been alternating profiling men and women, and I can’t pick just one, so here’s the whole list:

Jaclyn Warren
Daniel Finaldi
Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs
Chris Lewis
Kreg Yingst
Sarah Breisch
Charles Rohrbacher

Next up is Daniel Mitsui, and after that, Mattie Karr! So good. 


Next: Not my writing, but Damien’s ongoing coverage of the Church Militant/Michael Voris meltdown. I have to include these because these people have literally made a career out of ruining people’s lives in the most lurid way possible, and now it’s all falling apart — and it’s all due to a mild-mannered priest from New Hampshire who decided, “No, you can’t actually just say whatever you want about people” and hired a competent lawyer. There’s such a gratifying Al Capone tax law feel to it. Here’s the round-up:

Phew! And now a few family-oriented essays where I feel like I had something useful or funny to offer:

How I plan my menu and shop! In excruciating detail!

How we ruined a perfectly good cat

You gonna eat that?

I’ve got a heart like a duck

How I made a brick patio in just three terrible months

It will be so much easier if they make their own lunches

Opera Nite: Tosca review


and a few things about the Churrrrrch:

Pope Francis has had ten years to take sex abuse seriously

The Pope’s response to Rupnik shows we’re still in the desert

What’s it like to be a non-Catholic married to a Catholic? 

Who shows up at the adoration chapel?

What I saw at a Byzantine Divine Liturgy

How do we keep kids safe in confession (and everywhere else)?

Why is RFK Jr. gaining popularity? Everyone is afraid, and everyone is traumatized.

Why I stay in the Catholic Church


and a few things about, yanno, life (don’t talk to me about life):

All of life is worth living

Memories of Mr. Shea

Fatherhood transfigured

Let the dead bury the dead

Love of God is something we can learn

The myth of Jesus

The grief of God

and I think the best thing I wrote this year: 

What does it say in the belly of the whale?

And the thing I enjoyed the most: Writing about food, of course. What a treat to return to this every Friday, whatever else is going on in the world, and just talk about supper. What a life! 

Cheers, everybody. 



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2 thoughts on “The things I wrote in 2023 that I like the best”

  1. Simcha, I am mostly enamored with the majority of your writing. Don’t underestimate your recipe collection; we make the Korean beef quite often, and the kids love it; the biscuits have been popular, and NOW the Christmas cookies (most recently featured as dinosaurs) and I have added them as a tag of “idiot-proof” – we rolled, re-rolled and re-rolled and STILL they stayed tender and soooo good! Totally happy you publish and share. My favorite columns on the whole are the reno diaries but I am sure they take a lot out of you and they’re memory-intensive. Overall, bravo!

  2. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing so much and so well when you are kind of busy…just a little busy…I very much appreciate reading religious and non-religious writing that is not saccharine and yet is faithful to what I sometimes think of as that “old time religion,” if you know what I mean. I thank you for sharing yourself and your life and thoughts, struggles and triumphs – helps me feel not alone (not that you’re writing to make me feel better but it’s a nice side effect for me!). Thank you again, and Happy New Year again!

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