Susan Gladin showed up in two different newspapers with two different pieces of writing today. Susan and her husband Peter Kramer let me use their chicken house as a place to work on poetry — well, the house is a small room writer’s cottage that Peter built in the middle of the chicken pen. Note to self: Get your schedule set so you can get out there at least once a week.

In the News and Observer’s Sunday Journal, Susan has a short piece of fiction, “Lips like Wine.”

In the Chapel Hill Herald where Susan is regular Sunday columnist, she writes of giving up sugar in sympathy with her sister’s giving up smoking. (for whatever reason, the Herald doesn’t put their correspondants’ articles on-line).

At first, I was sure this would be a Lenten article. Afterall Susan is a Methodist minister and this Wednesday coming will be Ash Wednesday. But it seems that Susan has instead chosen a substitute for sugar, stevia, with no season or penitential excuse offered.

Susan notes that the history of stevia and the FDA has not been an easy one as does Henriette’s Herbal Medicine site.

I’m now trying to reconcile the two writings. One chastizing sweetly a Baptist preacher about his unnuanced attitude toward wine. One drunk with information about a herb that caused more than a little reaction from the FDA. Is there a mapping between the preacher and the FDA, between wine and sugar or stevia, between the first person narrator of the story and the personal journalist of the column? Have I been reading too much Paul Auster?