Archive for the ‘art & books’ Category

Thou knowest all our weeping, fainting, striving;

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019
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Thou know’st how very hard it is to be;
How hard to rouse faint will not yet reviving;
To do the pure thing, trusting all to thee;
To hold thou art there, for all no face we see;
How hard to think, through cold and dark and dearth,
That thou art nearer now than when eye-seen on earth.

GM

Amazed at sightless whirring of their wheels,

Sunday, July 14th, 2019
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Confounded with the recklessness and strife,
Distract with fears of what may next ensue,
Some break rude exit from the house of life,
And plunge into a silence out of view–
Whence not a cry, no wafture once reveals
What door they have broke open with the knife.

GM

Et tu?

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
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When I was young I wrote a lot of little poems, mostly about the beauty and necessity of Wonder; which was a genuine feeling with me, as it is still. The power of seeing plain things and landscapes in a kind of sunlight of surprise; the power of jumping at the sight of a bird as if at a winged bullet; the power of being brought to a standstill by a tree as by the gesture of a gigantic hand; in short, the power of poetically running one’s head against a post is one which varies in different people and which I can say without conceit is a part of my own human nature. It is not a power that indicates any artistic strength, still less any spiritual exaltation; men who are religious in a sense too sublime for me to conceive are equally without it. Of the pebble in the pathways of the twig on the edge, it may truly be said that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see these things and have not seen them. It is a small and special gift, but an innocent one.

I finally found this description GKC outlines in Wonder and the Wooden Post
I have tried to explain this sense of wonder I have to my wife and others, and many simply do not resonate with the idea. I think it might mean more than GKC attributes to it… as in my mind it would be a very positive vision to share with humanity, an edifying one, whether by pen, instrument or brush. Almost as if God says “Do you see this sun bathed wonder of green grass? Do you sense this inspiration and passion of a simple flower or stream? This tree as a sentry? Share it, give it to others!” Then again, maybe it is simply a gift to be enjoyed without any further assignments.

“It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill:

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019
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that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go—let it die away—go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow—and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life.”
Excellent advice from CS Lewis. For myself, that is how I have gained interest in songwriting, music production and visual communications (to name a few)… they seem to lead to each other and offer a world of new learning, which, in my view is more important than some artificial bobblehead approval from the right critic or number of dollars in my pocket. Not only is the process of learning something more fun, interesting and “thrilling,” so too are the ensuing “stacks” of complementary talents which follow. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert touched on the concept of talent stacks and I think he has hit on a powerful truth, and he describes it in a unique way… basically he describes a talent stack is a way in which one person uniquely combines several moderate talents or skills to make their contribution (he says commercial value) to society greater than it would be if they simply stayed with one moderate skill. I agree. Adams emphasizes that a good talent stack makes for greater commercial viability, and while I don’t disagree with that – I think the emphasis should be on leading an interesting, fulfilled life – regardless of commercial success. Curiously, I have found both commercial success and exhilaration in the learning process, they are not mutually exclusive.

The point? Learn something new! Disregard the foul voice which whispers you aren’t any good at the task in front of you… how else can you learn other than by experimenting and practice anyway? Try a new skill. Read a new author. Study a new branch of learning. Pick up a new instrument. This world is full of wonder, enjoy!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Letters and Papers from Prison:

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019
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Nothing we despise in the other man is entirely absent from ourselves.

We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.

Quality is the greatest enemy of any kind of mass-leveling. Socially it means the renunciation of all place hunting, a break with the cult of star; an open eye both upwards and downwards, especially in the choice of ones most intimate friends, and pleasure in private life as well as courage to enter public life. Culturally it means a return from the radio and newspaper to the book, from feverish activity to unhurried leisure, from dispersion to concentration, from sensationalism to reflection, from virtuosity to art, from snobbery to modesty, from extravagence to moderation. Quantities are competitive, qualities are complementary.

… just finished a new song “someshine”

Thursday, December 13th, 2018
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I wanted to post a video to go along with it, which I am shooting – the spinning plates however threaten to fall!… also just finished making a snare drum out of a maple log from a neighbors tree… I wanted to post some video of that too since it will be fun to show from log to groove – but alas only so many hours in a day! I’m getting ready to study Revelation – which I felt inspired to do after reading Jeremiah and Lamentations and saw multiple references to Babylon and so am really anticipating the parse!!! On that note I will end with a salient quote from GKC “…though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators.”

How true… how true.

GK Chesterton Saint Francis… in a word – brilliant!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018
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Really, too many highlights to list – but I will put this post up with the pdf (it is in public domain).

…Rossetti makes the remark somewhere, bitterly but with great truth, that the worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank. The converse of this proposition is also true; and it is certain that this gratitude produced, in such men as we are here considering, the most purely joyful moments that have been known to man. The great painter boasted that he mixed all his colors with brains, and the great saint may be said to mix all his thoughts with thanks. All goods look better when they look like gifts. In this sense it is certain that the mystical method establishes a very healthy external relation to everything else. But it must always be remembered that everything else has for ever fallen into a second place, in comparison with this simple fact of dependence on the divine reality. In so far as ordinary social relations have in them something that seems solid and self-supporting, some sense of being at once buttressed and cushioned; in so far as they establish sanity in the sense of security and security in the sense of self-sufficiency, the man who has seen the world hanging on a hair does have some difficulty in taking them so seriously as that.

…There was nothing negative about it; it was not a regimen or a stoical simplicity of life. It was not self-denial merely in the sense of self-control. It was as positive as a passion; it had all the air of being as positive as a pleasure. He devoured fasting as a man devours food. He plunged after poverty as men have dug madly for gold. And it is precisely the positive and passionate quality of this part of his personality that is a challenge to the modern mind in the whole problem of the pursuit of pleasure. There undeniably is the historical fact; and there attached to it is another moral fact almost as undeniable. It is certain that he held on this heroic or unnatural course from the moment when he went forth in his hair-shirt into the winter woods to the moment when he desired even in his death agony to lie bare upon the bare ground, to prove that he had and that he was nothing. And we can say, with almost as deep a certainty, that the stars which passed above that gaunt and wasted corpse stark upon the rocky floor had for once, in all their shining cycles round the world of laboring humanity, looked down upon a happy man.

read it here:

G.K.Chesterton-Saint Francis

The Claim of War: Render unto Ceasar

Thursday, September 6th, 2018
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The war will fail to absorb our whole attention because it is a finite object and, therefore, intrinsically unfitted to support the whole attention of human soul. In order to avoid misunderstanding I must here make a few distinctions. I believe our cause to be, as human causes go, very righteous, and I therefore believe it to be a duty to participate in this war. And every duty is a religious duty, and our obligation to perform every duty is therefore absolute. Thus we may have a duty to rescue a drowning man and, perhaps, if we live on a dangerous coast, to learn lifesaving so as to be ready for any drowning man when he turns up. It may be our duty to lose our own lives in saving him. But if anyone devoted himself to lifesaving in the sense of giving it his total attention – so that he thought and spoke of nothing else and demanded the cessation of all other human activities until everyone learned to swim – he would be a monomaniac. The rescue of drowning men is, then, a duty worth dying for, but not worth living for. It seems to me that all political duties (among which I include military duties) are of this kind. A man may have to die for our country, but no man must, in any exclusive sense, live for his country. He who surrenders himself without reservation to the temporal claims of a nation, or a party, or a class is rendering unto Ceasar that which, of all things, most emphatically belongs to God: himself

CS Lewis – from “Learning in War-Time” (The Weight of Glory)

Although this was written WRT WWll unpacking this in today’s heated and histrionic atmosphere is very applicable on many levels.

I clasp thy feet, O father of the living!

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018
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Thou wilt not let my fluttering hopes be more,

Or lovelier, or greater, than thy giving!

Surely thy ships will bring to my poor shore,

Of gold and peacocks such a shining store

As will laugh all the dreams to holy scorn,

Of love and sorrow that were ever born.

GM

Even thou canst give me neither thought nor thing,

Monday, May 14th, 2018
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Were it the priceless pearl hid in the land,

Which if I fix thereon a greedy gaze,

Becomes not poisen that doth burn and cling;

Their own bad look my foolish eyes doth daze,

They see the gift, see not the giving hand—

From the living root the apple dead I wring.

GM