The Clock is Ticking…

It’s about twelve hours after I normally log in and think about writing something in this space. Today started with my nose to the grindstone so to speak, and it’s been hard to find even a few minutes to stop and scribble. But I’m watching the clock and I realize if I don’t get something—anything!—down, I will have already blown the commitment to put some words here every day.

A couple of things I’m pondering…

I read on Drudge about a Chinese study which discovered that loneliness and/or unhappiness speeds up the aging process even more than smoking. Wow! I might be in trouble! It turns out the “article” is actually an infomercial for some anti-aging product. But I kind of get it, I suppose. We were created for community, and we were designed for joy, so all kinds of things can happen when either of those is not optimal. The last couple of years, working from home almost exclusively has made me feel like an old man, a hermit even some days. The key may be finding some companions, some Inklings like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien had. Friends who will listen to your work, give you honest feedback, and still enjoy your company around the table.

Speaking of the Inklings and such, I’m a big coffee guy and have been for a long time. But recently, I’ve begun the habit of tea at 4:00 pm. Maybe just to feel some camaraderie with Jack and the others. I went through the stash I had in the pantry pretty quickly. My staples, when I’ve had tea over the years have been Earl Grey and English Breakfast, with the occasional and obligatory herb teas like Celestial Seasonings’ Sleepytime. Today, I restocked and got some Darjeeling. It bills itself as “lighter and woody.” All I know is it was pretty good on the veranda…I mean…the front porch this afternoon. It was the great Bilbo Baggins who reminded the dwarves, “Tea is at four every day, and you need not bother to ring the bell.”

Side note about tea: I just realized I used the word “stash” in that paragraph. I have some green tea called Stash. It’s the best green tea I’ve had, but the name makes me smile out loud sometimes.

Well, the clock is still ticking, and I’m not quite at the 500-word mark. But at least I didn’t miss today. And who knows? I might get some more inspiration before I call it a day for real. After all, not only did I not write dark and early, but I didn’t read or make my way through my Reeder feed. (Oh, look…the word count is 442…447. I might make it to 500 yet!

I’ll leave you with this random thought among all these others. I came late to the Game of Thrones party, but I started at the very beginning with House of the Dragon. One thing I’ve noticed after just six episodes? There are no honorable characters in the show. There aren’t even any sympathetic ones. GoT had the only honorable man in Westeros, Lord Eddard Stark. And there was, of course, Jon Snow. But HotD? Not a single one!

Looky, looky…over the 500 mark! Thanks for playing and thanks for waiting with bated breath, checking back and refreshing the page to see if I really was going to make it a daily habit. So far, so good.


What Shall We Write About Today?

That is the question facing us today, dear readers—all both of you—as we contemplate the goal, the intention, the vow of posting something every day in this space in tribute to my upcoming birthday. What shall we write about?

I could write about The Dream. Yep, the one I had last night. The one that awakened me with a start, one of the most disturbing and fearsome dreams I remember having. That one. The one with the maniacal laugh and crazy eyes. The one that involved not only my son, but my grandson. I’ll spare you all the details for now, but let’s just say I may have actually screamed my son’s name in real life when I woke with a start. It was that terrible and that realistic.

I could write today about the Ongoing Discombobulation that seems to characterize life these days. Maybe that will come soon. Or maybe it will go away soon, and be replaced by something more productive and pleasant.

I could write about the latest picture of the grandson, mad about his food, but looking like an intense rock star singing into his spoon as a microphone.

I could write about the joy of starting The Chronicles of Narnia over again and catching up with where the grandson is hearing the tales for the first time in his nightly reading/listening time. I could write about how happy it makes me that my son is introducing his son to the wonders of Narnia at an early age.

I could write about how I got some words stuck in my head during this morning’s predawn jaunt, and how I pondered the difference between “shore” and “bank” as the boundaries of bodies of water. Because I tend to geek out about words like that sometimes.

I could write about the fascinating account of one woman’s bicycle adventure from Ireland to India in 1963 (via Maria Popova, natch).

I could write about my put-out-ness (there’s a word for you!) with people who should be grateful for your work on their behalf, but instead pile on incessant demands for impossible results. I could even ponder why I can’t say no to those demands.

But I think, for this moment, at least, I’ll leave all that and think about the scent of books. Real books, I mean. The dead tree/dead octopus kind. One of the most common reasons bibliophiles give for preferring real books over, say, ebooks, the unmistakable aroma, the smell of them. There is a technical term for that aroma, I think, but I can’t put my cursor on it right now. Suffice it to say, the interwebs are rife with articles, posts, and reminiscences about the comforting scent of books. Many of those commentators limit their appreciation to the smell of old books, but I’m quite partial to the smell of all printed books, old and new. Some kids remember the amazing experience of holding that brand-new catcher’s mitt up to their face and taking in the smell of fresh leather, and how that was part of the game. (True confession: that was me, too.) But books! The essence of paper and ink, the feel of the deckled edges…these all add to the tactile adventure that beckons the reader and the lover of craft and art.

That’s what I’ve got on my mind this dark and early Monday. I think I’ll take a few minutes and sniff some books.


On the Supposed “Historical Jesus”…

C.S. Lewis on the alleged “historical Jesus”…

Any theory which bases itself on a supposed ‘historical Jesus’ to be dug out of the Gospels and then set up in opposition to Christian teaching is suspect. There have been too many historical Jesuses—a liberal Jesus, a pneumatic Jesus, a Barthian Jesus, a Marxist Jesus. They are the cheap crop of each publisher’s list, like the new Napoleons and new Queen Victorias. It is not to such phantoms that I look for my faith and my salvation.

C. S. Lewis, “Why I Am Not a Pacifist,” in The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins, 1949/2001), 88.

Random Thoughts Saturday, 09.24.22

This morning—actually, the last couple of days—I’ve been thinking about reading and writing and creating and curating and sharing and encouraging. I guess maybe it’s the steady diet of C.S. Lewis I’ve been on during that time. Anyway, in one of those serendipitous dark and early moments, I happened upon a few things that are resonating with me and rolling around in my brain. Here’s where a  few of them roll over toward the edge and drop out.

  • I came to CJ Chilvers’s post from yesterday. The links at the end of that post are gold for me today. One of those links pointed me toward his post from January about how to post something every day. I have a birthday coming up in a week or so and that’s going to be my goal: to post something every day.
  • I created a color theme from a Talbots ad. Why Talbots? Because the lovely and gracious MrsCharphar likes Talbots (and looks dang good in their clothes!), and the autumn colors are my preferred palette. Anyway, I played around with the “Monet brushes” in Photoshop and created a terrible and ugly picture I called Random Autumn 01. (It’s at the top of this post. Be gentle.) It’s ugly and uninteresting and reflects the artistic bypass I had birth. But I liked making it and I love the interplay of the colors in that palette.
  • Did I mention I’m on a steady diet of C.S. Lewis? I’m currently working through the dead tree/dead octopus edition of The Weight of Glory I scribbled in my Moleskine one day that when I read Lewis, “the next word is the right word,” and that’s why I think he’s a great writer.
  • I’m also restarting the Harper Trophy edition of The Chronicles of Narnia. My son told me the other day he’s started reading Narnia to our six-month-old grandson, and I figured every little boy needs his own brand-new copy of Narnia, so I ordered him one “like Grandpa’s.” Now I’m trying catch up with where they are in their reading.


Thursday, September 1…

Ah, September! And the beginning of fall—at least in meteorological terms. Thanks, JoAnne Feldman!

Once again, “fall” just doesn’t have the same elegance as “autumn,” which is still three weeks away. I’ve said it before: “Fall” is a very pedestrian word, denoting a school term or a baseball series. “Autumn,” on the other hand, is full of magic and beauty, an enchanted word for an enchanted season.

Give me autumn, and may it last until spring!

Little Songs About Raindrops…

Where have you been? All two of you…where have you been?

I don’t remember when or where I discovered Lullatone. All I know is I really dig the sound. It’s perfect for reading, studying, thinking, even snoozing at my desk. It has a very “commercial-ly” vibe (not “commercial” as in sellout, popular, or whatever)…more like the background music for a TV commercial.

It also has a very childlike feel, one of wonder and whimsy. It’s exactly what this old coot needs on a course to try and rediscover some creativity.