Alright, upon re-reading, I suppose one may have to be a bit of Tolkien geek to appreciate these Oh, and what do I think about the Hobbit movie? I may do a longer post, but in the meantime I am sending this to Peter Jackson for Christmas
If you have not been reading this blog for long, and perhaps “reading” is an insufficient word here, perhaps you are confused whether it is a photo blog or a poetry blog or blog presenting prose pieces. The answer to this question is “Yes.”
It is clear that photography takes up most of its real estate, with haiku a close second, but at several stages in this blogs history, that is to say my history, there was a fair bit of prose as well. That has diminished, but when I do publish a piece elsewhere on the web, I do like to point it out.
That is what this is, a review of Thomas Chatterton Williams thought-provoking and excellently written memoir. Without further ado, I will let the review do the talking.
Oh, and for more blog brand dilution/confusion, stay tuned–a blog contest or two are in the wings waiting to make their appearance.
Thanks for reading/viewing.
I am not entirely sure why I have not read Charles Williams up until this point–perhaps because he is difficult–but tonight I read the first few chapters of Descent Into Hell and am ruing the fact I have not read him heretofore. Here is a passage on the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, presented in the course of describing a suicide, which is just amazing:
“No dichotomy of flesh and spirit distressed or delighted him, nor did he know anything of the denial of that dichotomy by the creed of Christendom. The unity of that creed has proclaimed, against experience, against intelligence, that for the achievement of man’s unity the body of his knowledge is to be raised; no other fairer stuff, no alien matter, but this–to be impregnated with holiness and transmuted by lovely passion perhaps, but still this. Scars and prints may disseminate splendour, but the body is to be the same, the very body of the very soul that are both names of the single man.”
The Crim-Dassler “My Best Friend” photo contest is almost at its conclusion. Please visit the site, view the pictures, and vote if you have not already done so. The results come out this Thursday at midnight. So, make sure to revisit the blog then, though Friday morning will do just fine too Pencil it in. We have a breakfast date.
Also, the annual Dassler Effect “Autumn, Then Winter” haiku contest is now officially receiving entries, on, this, the first day of Autumn. Please read the contest rules and enter. Deadline: October 23rd. Results: November 6th. $80 in prize money). So, start writing.
Well, this new version of The Dassler Effect has had a more promising start than I could have imagined. And yet its previous incarnation was no slouch either (it still shows up first on Google). Because it was around for longer, it has far more more photos on it than the current blog and there is a far sight more writing of various types on it as well. Here are links to its categores. A word of warning: the photo and art pages do take a rather long time to load:
- Ache for Eternity
- And Wears Man’s Smudge
- C. S. Lewis
- Church Life and Theology
- Film, Music, Television, Books
- Food and Such
- J. R. R. Tolkien
- Lit and Library Stuff
- Personal Growth or Lack Thereof
- Photos and Art
- Photos and Art II
- Photos and Art III
- Politics and Culture Wrestling
- Pure Northerness
- Pure Silliness
- Random Poetry
- Science, Theology, and Ethics
- We Are Family
- Word Association
- World Affairs
Of course, taking care of a donkey and getting it to go, I am sure, is rather difficult work, even if I have always rather had a fondness for the beasts, especially Puzzle of Narnia. And baby donkeys? Well, I cannot begin to describe their cuteness.
However, I digress. This story is really quite cool, though, and more so for its non-donkey aspects. The eagerness with which children wait to read and then read the books made a particular impression upon me. In truth, it rather brings me up short as I sit typing this in my room, with books strewn on the floor near the head of my bed, books still in boxes from my recent move, books in thrift stores around the city which I can take hours to broswe and buy at a pittance, which itself is only a pittance because I make such a handsome wage, books at the library which pays my handsome wage on shelves and shelves and shelves, with numerous computers that can access the Internet and, yes, millions more books throughout the state of Missouri, and books, used and new, at Amazon which I can buy for rather more than a pittance, but still at amazing prices.
Now, I am not saying it is a bad thing to have access to so many books. It is wonderful, and this story highlights just how much of a privilege it, indeed, is, one that is not only good to reflect upon, but one that I, especially as a librarian, should be seeking to extend to others.
Another intersting aspect of the story was how the donkey library is also striving to have people treat donkeys with more care and respect, which is very cool. Don’t care for donkeys? Perhaps you might consider the Kenyan camel library.
“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
-”The Journey of the Magi” by T.S. Eliot
The quote in the title is what Hamlet answers Polonius, I believe, when he asks him what he is reading. If you are a word-lover, both of what they mean and how they are displayed, then these two stories from the BBC might be of interest.
First is the story of a man who read the entire Oxford English Dictionary in a year. The reading of it did not make him a word snob, however. He says:
“Knowing what to call something makes me more aware of that thing. For instance, it’s not terribly useful for me to know that [the sound of] leaves rustled by the trees is a psithurism.
“I don’t want to walk down the street with my girlfriend saying: ‘Listen, there’s a psithurism.’ But knowing it means I pay more attention to it.”
Similarly, knowing that “undisonant” is the adjective to describe the sound of crashing waves and that “apricity” is the warmth of the winter sun brings these things more often to mind.
“It’s not easy to use them in conversation and so I enjoy them for their own sake. They are like one-word poems.”