Friday, December 21, 2007

Learning to write by reading a writer writing to readers

I recently checked this book out from a library. Yes, I confess that I skipped the first two volumes, as this third tome is a compilation of letters written by Clive Staples Lewis in the years of his prominence as a writer (namely, from 1950-1963).

It has an amazingly thorough index, which allows the purveyor to consider particular themes, books, concepts, people, or almost anything that you can imagine, as written about by Lewis to a variety of different people including children, literary peers, friends, and other luminaries of his day.

Several things strike me about Lewis' writing, in its most personal form of expression.

One is that his letters, even when brief, are written with care. How idly do my fingers type on an IM or e-mail, or yes, even a blog. This must change, and change it must.

Second, his love of reading permeates his writing. So many letters are full of spontaneous quotes of Shakespeare, Greek and Latin writers, and even when writing to Tolkien, he uses a quote from The Fellowship of the Ring.

Third, he has the view of the world that I am hoping to consistently apply to my life. From writing about morality in general to the particulars of a decision on divorce made by Anglican bishops to writing a letter completely in Latin to a Roman Catholic Dom, Lewis sought communication with all of God's people. Which makes me wonder, what would he have thought about the latest doings in Canterbury and the rest of the world? But I suppose that is a subject more fittingly addressed on Contrarian Presbyterian.

o.k., this is weird

I received a spam e-mail from myself today.

Has this happened to anyone else out here?

At any rate, this e-mail from me ended up in my Spam Box. My address and the link they put at the end are altered and deleted so as to not give either of us any more unwanted press....

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Merry Christmas, Fellow Nerds

Like its fellows, this picture is worth a thousand words.

I thought it was so funny because December 25th stands out as an island among days where different people in my building have signed up to use the confocal microscope.

The whole idea of Christmas and what it means may be lost to most humans walking about this globe, and maybe C.S. Lewis had it right when he said we need to replace the term "x-mas" with "The Feast of the Nativity", but you can't deny that people see the importance of this day qua this day.

What will your day be full of?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the best news i have heard in months

Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema are enemies no more!!!

There will be TWO movies based on The Hobbit, to be released in 2010 and 2011!!

Oh the JOY!!!!

read about it here:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

the tea party is ON!!

In honor of the Boston Tea Party,
is taking donations on this day.

You have under 12 hours to contribute to beat this great patriot's previous record of money raised in one day.

Get there and join the REVOLUTION!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

i believe that i myself am the future?

We live in a cruel, sickeningly cruel era. In the midst of the parasitic protests for more for me, and the maddening mockery of "menos" for thee,
rays of hope shine, emanating albeit softly from those who advocate freedom,
goodness, and all of those other wonderful things more rare than gold on this present horizon.

This may be no more clearer to me when I reflect on my existence as a parent. For some reason this culture of death has not only forgone love for comfort, it is quick to seek out sources of cultivation and praise, and to target them for scrutiny and mockery. These things are funneled, isolated, anything but placed under the spotlight. For after all, a moment's consideration would let the resplendence of life and love outshine the notions of the nuclear family, ten year plans, early retirement, and the other catch phrases disguised to anesthetize the heart's cries of anguish as it thinks of chances squandered, thrown into the mire that will inevitably
mire the heart itself.

To that end, I must earnestly ask those traveling on life's road with me--are we ourselves ends in and of ourselves? Can we look back and call a life well-lived if it was set up to solely ensure the best scenario, a scenario that only placed the camera on the director himself?

Oh no, my friends. This will never satiate the human condition. We are all farmers,
the question is what are we planting into our field, and what will that do to the
earth and its other inhabitants--these other inhabitants whose very existence is
scorned and brushed aside for things like "me" time.

"Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies"
we build a house upon shimmering worthless lies......
My mathoms may not give the greatest yield if measured by annual returns,
but "wealth" is one fruit of the field, it must not let us spurn,
the truly cherished, valued things in life, that raise the poorest man's head
but tear until they are dead the rich who drown in their own strife.

Friday, December 14, 2007

lessons learned from little lads

I woke up this morning with a sore throat.
Having a sore throat is the sort of illness where one can't help but complain, despite the fact that the
injury is really quite manageable. I was in the mood to complain about my irritation. As my son arose
this morning, his faithful greeting of "Hi, dad" was more gruff than usual.
{I say more gruff than usual because he has a habit of lowering his voice to sound more tough, in case those of you
who haven't had the blessing of talking to him are confused, but I digress.}

Noting this deepening and scratched tone to his voice, I asked, "Hey man, do you have a sore throat?"

"Yes", came the baritone call from my 7 year-old.

"Aw, man, so do I. I guess we both do."

There it was, I had set up my chance to commiserate. What would he say to remind me that misery loves company?

"Too bad", was his blunt but quite accurate assessment of our mutually inflammed throats.

My wife and I started laughing, for quite a bit of time, so much that we had to explain to him the simplicity and
truth in his comment. He thought we were laughing at him for saying something silly, but really I had been the one who was
pensively puerile.

The truth is that it's too bad when little trials come our way, but they come for a reason. For whatever reason, at that moment little Jonathan was years beyond my tired and childish attitude of this morning, and he knew that complaining solves nothing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Surely you jest, dearest Jonathan!

No, poorest readers and friends, I am speaking truly when I tell you that I want another blog.

The problem I have had with blogging as of late is that my other two blogs,


are so focused on specific forms of expression that I cannot really share other things that are on my mind. And to that end, I have started

As the headline to this blog states, Tolkien invented this Hobbitish word that greatly captures our desire to cling to things that we can't quite throw away or polish and put in a display case.

So what will you find at this latest iteration of my thoughts expressed in electronic form?


That is-my thoughts that I have as I walk down this road of life. Perhaps this site will be more characteristic of your typical blog.

Who knows? We shall see, we shall see.....

Friday, December 7, 2007

I accuse you all of abhoring all accusatives

I recently discussed ways in which our modern English is neglecting the nominative.

At the same time, we also take the accusative and almost always assign it to some abject address.

After all, when was the last time you heard someone say "To whom are you referring?" I will wager that for every time you heard that you heard at least twenty sentences that went something like this: "Who are you talking about?"

The latter is grammatically grotesque, whereas the former is fine.

I realized this clearly because of my current employment, which has me surrounded by people whose second language is English. At first I wanted to correct some of their usages of the word "whom", when I realized that I had been the one in error.

So be careful, kids, and be sure to use "whom" whenever your interrogatory pronoun is the object of the sentence!