Monday, October 24, 2011

Drugged on Bookstores and Poetry

Many things happened last week (a thoughtful blog post not included).

Noteworthy incidents involved happy moments in two different book stores...and the spending of money...and the bringing home of books. More Chesterton, Wodehouse, Doug Wilson, Dr. Leithart, Dianna Wynne Jones, and Ray Bradbury.

I also picked up my first Billy Collins book, Ballistics. I think I discovered some poetry that my Mumsie actually likes. :-) Dance of joy!

So far, none of the following poems have captured me like the first, but the whole book is worth this one...

August in Paris

I have stopped here on the rue des ├ęcoles
just off the boulevard St-Germain
to look over the shoulder of a man
in a flannel shirt and a straw hat
who has set up an easel and a canvas chair
on the sidewalk in order to paint from a droll angle
a side-view of the Church of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

But where are you, reader,
who have not paused in your walk
to look over my shoulder
to see what I am jotting in this notebook?

Alone in this city,
I sometimes wonder what you look like,
if you are wearing a flannel shirt
or a wraparound blue skirt held together by a pin.

But every time I turn around
you have fled through a crease in the air
to a quiet room where the shutters are closed
against the heat of the afternoon,
where there is only the sound of your breathing
and every so often, the turning of a page.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Joys of Writing...

20,000 words into the 13th draft of my story and all my characters are having identity crisis! Good times... :-P

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Magical Word Counts...

Been doing a lot of planning, scheduling, and goal setting these days.

I've told myself I can monologue about my WIP as soon as I'm back to 25,000 words (yes, I started over). Right now I've set a daily 1,000 word quota. Some days are more torturous than others, but it's all been worth it. Back up to 12,000.

Teaching and tutoring again for the fall. Always helps keep me with a fresh perspective.

Been writing scraps of sad looking poetry...which makes me immensely happy.

Did you see the rainbow today? Too bad something so majestic makes me think of something little green men. Sort of like the word "magical". Hmm...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist - Brant Pitre

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre

Rating: 6
Readability: 6
Impact: 6

Read it Again: No. Might refer to a few passages.
Recommend It: Not over other books on the same subject.

What to Expect

Observations on the Lord's Supper from the Old Testament and what we know of Jewish life from a Catholic perspective. 

Feels written by the rules (in good and bad ways), but with some big gaps in his arguments. Many of his observations are fascinating and true, but some of his approach and conclusions are puzzling.

Most of the book doesn't touch on specifically Roman Catholic doctrine. What is more startling and prevalent than he's brief passages and weak arguments directly on transubstantiation, is what he seems to say about Jesus.

Pitre focuses on Jesus divinity in several areas, but seems to imply in several others that Jesus didn't know what was going to happen to Him. His Christ seems not to know how His own life was written. This scared me. This topic, however, is so complicated and has so many definition arguments, it's hard to know what he's actually saying. 

There also seemed a big separation from spiritual and physical ideas and commands. Which, I guess makes sense along with other Roman Catholic beliefs, but I'd never thought about it that way before.

My Squib

Glad I read the book. The typology and historical aspects give some good food for thought. It is the first specifically Roman Catholic book I've read, and although there were several things I disagreed with, it was a good experience. 

You can get most of Brant Pitre's interesting bits plus a wider and more organized look at Lord's Supper throughout the Bible, from Dr. Leithart's book Blessed are the Hungry.

One thing the book accomplishes well is making one think about the Lord's Supper and it's importance. We should disagree with Rant Pitre on some points (and certainly the Roman Catholic Church), but we must seek to understand Communion. We should know what God teaches about this beautiful feast and strive to know what it means. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Dragon's Tooth - N.D. Wilson

The Dragon's Tooth
by N.D. Wilson
Random House 2011

Rating: 8
Readability: 9
Impact: Interesting style. Memorable story.

Read it Again: Probably
Recommend It: Yup.

What to Expect

A story with many threads, gripping for all ages, but with the distinct flavor of being written by an understanding father of wild boys (and/or someone who has retained boyish delight).

N.D. Wilson combines the mundaneness of American living with fantastical keys, teeth, and hidden academies. He paints interesting characters and tells the unbelievable in such a normal, unapologetic way that it sends you knee-deep before you realizes you're only sitting in a chair reading a book.

The Dragon's Tooth drops a few characters, which was a little annoying, but forgivable. Overall it will make you scared, sad, and happy, but most of all, eager the next book!

My Squib

The Dragon's Tooth is somehow both darker and more frolicking than most stories. Which is, in some ways, just how Christian fiction should be. N.D. Wilson never lapses into homilies or Scripture verses, but can't help incorporating Biblical themes and language which form part of the backbone of the book. He's a great example of a Christian author--not an author who writes "Christian fiction".

The characters were interesting and I thought Cyrus was a wonderful lead...most of his characters use snarky wit in abundance, but have multiple other differences which make them distinguishable.

His descriptions are often both unique and artistic and his musings on death make me almost ready to forgive him for writing more kid's fiction instead of more Notes form the Tilt-a-Whirl. :-) I shall remain patient in controlled waiting for the rest of the series and hopefully some day...some adult fiction? That would make me blissfully happy.

I haven't been reading a lot of fantasy lately and to start a book of this size, I have to trust the author. I enjoyed every minute of it.

From the Book

If you've read the book we can discuss the finer aspects (including my two favorite characters...both amazing), but if you haven't read it yet, you really should. Should have read it the first week, but remembered to review it...unlike me. ;-)

If you haven't seen the book trailer yet, go check it out here. 

Fiction is good for the soul. And sometimes I need a reminder. Thank you, N.D. Wilson!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


the only proper form of expression is a yellow smiley...on the beach.

This post is merely to say that I am currently dancing around my room in the throws of unquenchable joy. I have a shiny new laptop...that belongs to an alternate reality. His name is Hector.

I have never once exhausted his battery and I worked nearly all day yesterday on the go. From seven minutes to over seven hours is quit the change in a writer's life. He ways nearly four pounds less then my HP (he shall remained named so as to not hurt his feelings). 

I've restarted my novel (draft fourteen) and started planning out the next year of my life. Organized and productive. This may I be.

Have a good Saturday and restful Lord's Day. I shall continue dancing. ;-)

If this was skype...there would a little ninja rocking out here for a perfect farewell.