Name: Kaya Oakes
Where you live: Oakland, California
What you do as a vocation or avocation?
I’m a writer, and I am lucky enough to teach writing for a living. My most recent book, Radical Reinvention: An Unlikely Return to the Catholic Church, is a memoir about my life as a progressive, feminist Catholic, and the many, many other progressive Catholics I’ve been lucky to meet, read about, and learn from.
Your two favorite books:
Two? Yikes. I’m surrounded by books day and night, so it’s really hard to narrow down. Since this is a spiritual blog let’s do the Gospel of Luke and Elizabeth Johnson’s She Who Is.
Your two favorite songs:
Two? Yikes again; not only am I married to a musician but I’m a musician too. Again, since we’re going spiritual, I vote for Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater, which I just heard for the first time (amazing; check out the Andreas Scholl version), and Leonard Cohen’s The Window, which quotes from the great work of Christian mysticism The Cloud of Unknowing.
Why you are interested in spirituality?
Because I can’t help it. Like a lot of Gen X people I lived in denial of my interest in spirituality and religion for a long time; it was seen by my peers as unfashionable, regressive, and oftentimes straight up dumb. But maturity lead me to recognize the fact that I not only have a soul, I have a thirsty soul.
Your favorite quote:
Right now? “All things counter, original, spare, strange/ Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)/ With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers forth whose beauty is past change.” That’s the great Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Your favorite web sites:
I’m a huge news junkie so I’m a New York Times addict in addition to reading lots of news feeds and keeping up with stuff via Twitter and Facebook. For Catholic news the National Catholic Reporter is my favorite. For spiritual sites, I’m a big fan of Killing the Buddha, Sacred Space, Occupy Catholics, and a couple of sites I recently discovered: Anarchist Reverend and The Jesuit Post.
A brown skinned feminist rabbi who practiced radical inclusion. You may have heard about him.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? How to keep my mouth shut!
A place in the world where you feel spiritually “connected?“
The women’s homeless shelter where I volunteer; the living rooms of the women in my contemplation group; my sofa; Lake Merritt in Oakland; the beaches in Gualala and Point Reyes, California; and in the Basilica of Saint Francis, in Assisi, Italy.