English Essayist Richard St

He writes with sweeping depth and openhearted charm, and the ideas and perspectives in as “the two temples of my youth”—imprinted their holy visions on a reverent boy.It was where a literature-loving teen reckoned with Western civilization between lurid turns at the Memorial Auditorium, peering through the smoky blue air as wrestlers and boxers waged war on Monday and Tuesday nights.

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Walking toward the space, Rodriguez observes it with bemusement.

He stops beneath a sycamore tree, peering past its trunk as if studying the ghost of the building that once stood there—the yellow house at 935 39th Street, the house where Rodriguez grew up. The emergency entrance to the hospital was over there.

At least there is the church—always the church, returning Rodriguez’s gaze, locating his memory.

In the decades since the one-time Sacred Heart altar boy moved on to his globe-trotting literary career, however, it is memory that has located Richard Rodriguez.

n the morning of his 69th birthday on July 31, Richard Rodriguez steps out of Sacred Heart church and into the vast midsummer light of East Sacramento.

He pauses on the sidewalk just south of the intersection at 39th and J streets and, with a subtle turn of his head, looks both ways.

In another he travels to Las Vegas, where he tends to a dying friend.

Elsewhere he explores the more figurative desert of Silicon Valley, where young tech plutocrats remake thousands of years of shared culture into a parched, sterile wasteland of technology addicts.

Later, in his galvanizing 1982 book , he stirred controversy with his autobiographical case for ending bilingual education and racial preferences in colleges. “I really am attracted to that tradition of the solitary voice against the institution,” he says.

Elsewhere in , Rodriguez confronts the challenges of being homosexual in the Catholic Church.

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