Books v. Ebooks: Because I like throwing them across the room.

April 9, 2014 § 4 Comments

As a writer and a book addict, I’ve often partaken of the “physical/real books v. ebooks” debate, but I’ve never written a concise list to reinforce my opinion (I prefer physical books).

1. They are like people. Each mark received from the places the loving reader drags the book only adds to it’s character. You can read them in the rain, in the midday sun, in the middle of the woods, without worrying about screen brightness, damage, or battery life.

2. You can make stuff out of them such as giant domino sets (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np450xMSncE#t=167), notebooks (oh the horror), or art… good art. Think about it though, if a book is bad art in the first place, you may as well recycle it into a notebook, where good art will be made, or craft it directly into a work of art.

3. Vintage. Old books are the best. They are magnificently bound and smell wonderful.

4. They are durable, which is of utmost importance when reading a book like The Hunger Games or Of Mice and Men. Physical copies give you the added benefit of flinging them across the room, throwing them out the window, or jumping up and down on them without the anxiety of a potentially cracked screen.

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Admitting and Naming

January 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

After beginning my studies at Montreat, I experienced a bit of shock. I realized that I have to think about these ideas I’d learned about from 3rd grade on, alone now, aided only by the writings of great artists: Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor, C.S. Lewis. For a few months I’ve been struggling the the ideas of art, in relation to the True, Good, and Beautiful.

For two months, the about page was dedicated to my post, A Pursuit of Good Art, because my thoughts were circling around these huge ideas which had yet to converge in any sensical manner. Then one night, a close friend of mine called me out. He said these ideas, the arts, weren’t the thing. Art isn’t going to change people, only God can change people’s hearts. (I had a difficult time accepting this, because he was inherently biased. After all he is in medical school, and inclined towards the sciences. But he was right.) At least, it isn’t an either-or thing.

Walker Percy said, “It is a perversion of art to look upon science as the true naming and knowing and upon art as a traffic of the emotions. Both science and art discover being, and neither may patronize the other” (Naming and Being). Walker Percy gets at something most people forget to emphasize, “neither may patronize the other.”

Ultimately, it is God who moves the human heart, but through us, we hope, He allows our dreams and passions to stir hearts and glorify Him.

A Pursuit of Good Art: An Expansion of “About”

January 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Desire for separation from reality leads many to pick up the pen. In some way escapism may be fulfilled through “the profession of letters,” but these words come from reality, from the real and tangible of the world and of our imaginations. We experience the sensory, as well as the metaphysical in our communities, the natural of life. Our words are drawn from this broken place whether we recognize it or not.

Or not… most often this is the case, the problem. We don’t recognize the brokenness of our world, especially the brokenness of ourselves; it’s only natural, normal. Here the poets, photographers, musicians, painters— true artists do us justice. They show where our vision fails, where our biases bleed in and adjust the lighting to taste. Much is art, but less is good art.

“Art is a form of expression,” is the common answer to the how and why questions about art, but this naming is not sufficient. Surely art is more purposeful than subjective self-expression.

Good art thrusts these truths at us beautifully and unashamedly, startling us; it makes them known by positioning them in a world where they do standout, or magnifies them in our own. Good art deals with the human condition and our reactions to it. Good art pursues the true, good, and beautiful by making the ugly realized and sensitizing us to the existence of the Good.

In publicly broadcasted debates on tv, men are less attentive to their logic than their appearance, and the audience holds the same values. Rationalism, secular humanism, and scientism have lost their sovereignty. Art is indeed more important in a world fascinated with images. An absorbing blog on Truth and Culture points out the languidness of purely formal logic in a postmodern world.

What would make us think that formal logic and persuasive essays would affect those who have denied truth?  Yet, this is precisely our method – arming for logical argument, pointing out inconsistencies and fallacies to those who do not care.  In our time, ignoring beauty – that is, the creation of art, literature, music, poetry, and other works of the imagination – means giving our world the “silent treatment.”  … ’Art has become more important in the postmodern world…because the truth claims of philosophy, theology, ethics, and even nature seem weak.’

The pursuit of the true, good, and beautiful is the pursuit of the “Divine reality and Divine beauty,” an attempt to nurture the soul with such virtue as arises from the convergence of these three. So here you’ll find a pursuit of good art, whether it is the art itself you read or the learning behind the pursuit.

On Relationships and Jokes

January 10, 2014 § 1 Comment

Human beings are relational creatures. We like knowing, and we like being known. To love and be loved is the soul’s delight (Augustine). Some of us are introverts, others extroverts, but people need people. In Lost in the Cosmos, Walker Percy points out that the people around us seem to know us better than we know ourselves. Maybe this is why we crave relation. But there are times when internal struggles seem to overturn our personalities. We keep quiet and long for the person we once were, but distress loiters around our minds.

Depression can fly at you for no reason, and that makes it harder. Not knowing what sickly creature is overtaking your personality is disturbing; it’s tear-inducing. You want clear direction, steps to take, but there’s no one answer. Depression and anorexia, epilepsy and turrets, are not laughing matters, yet countless people crack jokes about them everyday. When they are around friends, people flippantly laugh at those who deal with each of these when. Why? To be cool? Grow up. The joke isn’t cool to your friend who is quietly confronting it. Everyone laughs, some smile. Most find it funny, but others who are battling with these problems, they smile. But inside…inside they just want it to be over. They hate it. They may even hate themselves for it. It is a fight. Step out of your self-centered world and start loving people, because people need people.

Literature as True Art

December 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

C.S. Lewis points out, “Agape is all giving, not getting….Giving money is only one way of showing charity; to give time and toil is far better and (for most of us) harder.”

Sacrifice and love are rituals; however, rituals which initially carried meaning now stand in action alone. Love is a ritual and a commitment; C.S. Lewis also recognizes the importance of rituals in our everyday lives. Rituals have lost their meaning because we don’t recognize the truth behind them; they are symbols, and these representatives are used so often that they become viewed as the intentions. The world needs myths and truth-sayers to show the underlying meaning and significance behind actions performed.

When discussing the components of life that humanize, Campbell brings up, “The unbiblical point, the humanity, the thing that makes you human and not supernatural and immortal—that’s what’s lovable. That is why some people have a very hard time loving God, because there’s no imperfection there. You can be in awe, but that would not be real love. It’s Christ on the cross that becomes lovable.” Because humans are imperfect, they must make a habit of love until it becomes a true agape, service-oriented love. The danger in this lies in the acts of service becoming tasks which must be completed; however, literature aids the recovery of meaning in ritual.

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On Writing

May 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

“The interesting thing about writing, or at least good writing, is that it rarely begins at the conclusion.
When an idea comes to a writer, it does not come of themselves, it comes from somewhere else or some past experience they’ve been through.
It is his mind and hand’s creation, but also it is not. It came through him, but not from him.
To write a story, or play, or musical piece is to be at once an author and a character, to be in and outside of a story, only able to know what will happen next and why it happened by seeing the story through to the end and then stepping out of the story to view the whole thing from one end to the other.
It is humbling to write, as one realizes that he does not know what will happen next till it is time for it to happen. One cannot create a story nor can he know the character’s future until the story leads him toward its own conclusion. The writer can merely record what he is shown. And he can wonder, wonder what will become of the characters in the story he writes and the story in which he lives as they move through chapter after chapter toward a conclusion already written yet still unknown to those living it. To be an imperfect writer in a perfect story is possibly the most humbling thing of all.”

~Adam Jackson

Cats are diabolical…reader discretion advised.

April 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Friend:My cat brought in a bird…
Me:Oh no :( :( :( :(
Friend:And it wasn’t dead…
Me:*hyperventilates* afshafagafa!!
Friend:It died…
Me::( :( :( :( *cries* We need to have a funeral for it. :(
Friend:That can’t happen…
Me::( :( :( Why??? :(
Friend:They took it outside, and I can’t find it.
Me:Who did? :(
Friend:The cats.
Me:I hate cats.

This was only a day after my other friends and me buried a baby bunny that had been mauled by cats. Point proven.

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