||In my dissertation, By Now It Should Sound Like Music, I explore connections between inheritance and writing, and how we experience different kinds of inheritance in our bodies, families, and spiritual lives. Although my primary genre for this project is the essay, many of these pieces have a story to tell. My look at inheritance is as personal as my immediate family, especially my father's adoption, and the turbulence following my grandmother's spiral into Alzheimer's. But I also follow stories and figures far outside of my own experience, such as composer Olivier Messiaen and Mother Teresa. The self is unpredictable, exciting quarry to track. And the self, by itself, is rarely enough. I investigate my Evangelical upbringing, especially the stories, songs, and cultural products like the sinner's prayer and the altar call that were part of my early spiritual formation and embedded in family relationships. In part two of the manuscript, I reach beyond the Evangelical culture of my youth to Catholic and Orthodox expressions of Christianity. In search of wisdom, transcendence, or healing, I look to spiritual places like the rocks of southern Utah, the painted monasteries of Romania, and the dehydrated carnival of Burning Man. By Now It Should Sound Like Music includes many different types of writing, from the protein scripts of our DNA to the lakes and canyons inscribed by glaciers. In these essays, the material shape and heft of words as objects, and not just meanings, are items for study in their own right. Music is one of the most important kinds of "writing" in the collection. Musical notation aims at precision but, like writing, allows room for interpretation in the birdseye of a fermata, or the suggestiveness of a metaphor. Music's other side, silence, is the backdrop of this project. Many of the essays are a reaction to silence: a silence imposed because of illness, death, physical distance, or a severed relationship. A priest I like once explained that the Bible is not the revelation but is a record of the revelation. This manuscript is no Bible, but these essays record. They function like afterimages of things seen and unseen. They function like echoes.