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Showing posts from October, 2007

Old and Irrelevant

Today I was a substitute teacher at a local public school. When I passed by the library, I noticed a huge stack of books on a table outside the door with a sign that said "Free". The library was giving away books to make room for more up-to-date books. I suspect that, besides needing shelf space, the rather sour faced and politically correct new librarian has taken it upon herself to censor the students' reading.

Here are some of the books they were tossing out:

Harry Neal's The Mystery of Time. Harry Neal was a Christian, a scholar, and a former Assistant Chief of the U.S. Secret Service. This is one of the best books ever written on time and calendars. I wonder what current book was so important that it deserved to replace this classic?

Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. (I'm trying to think positively about this. Perhaps this was a duplicate copy?)

Issac Asimov On Numbers, a volume containing his best essays on infinity, t…

Wendell Berry: Be Not Ashamed!

One of my favorite poets is fellow Kentuckian, Wendell Berry. He has written over 27 books of poetry, many novels and numerous essays. His interests are many and wide. He lives on a 120 acre farm in northern Kentucky and types his letters on an old typewriter. One of those letters hangs framed in my lakeside cottage. The letter is dated February 22, 2005 and was graciously written to encourage my creative writing students at Millersburg Military Institute.

Mr. Berry advocates and practices sustainable farming and is a critic of American technological arrogance. He has written, "The time will soon come when we will not be able to remember the horrors of September 11 without remembering also the unquestioning technological and economic optimism that ended on that day. This optimism rested on the proposition that we were living in a 'new world order' and a 'new economy' that would 'grow' on and on, bringing a prosperity of which every new increment would be &#…

Pastor Ed Reflects on My Pearl Dreams

Pastor Ed Pacht wrote to me yesterday. He said, "Your account of that series of dreams moved me very deeply, and, as I think I'd mentioned, began the formation of a poem in me. Today the poem finally came to completion. It's always a bit chancy to write something reflecting someone else's thinking, but the description of your dreams was powerful, and it had to come.

The last line, BTW, doesn't reflect anything you actually said, but just jumped out as the only place it could lead. That is where every true mystical experience ends, isn't it? Suddenly, the lights come on."

Here is Ed's poem reflecting on my 3 pearl dreams posted here: http://teachgoodwriting.blogspot.com/2007/09/three-related-dreams.html


Alice's Dreams

What I want I have,
a striving in my soul fulfilled,
an aching hunger deep within,
a hunger that has long possessed me
has been satisfied at last, and I ...

step forth enwrapped in glory,
and am led in triumph to the place,
that seat on high tha…

Houses, Gates and Doors

Alice C. Linsley

Houses are both comforting and eerie. When it is our own house it feels like home, but when the house is not familiar, we feel like strangers. Or when the house empty or furnished but abandoned, there is a strangeness that brings unease.

A closed door stirs contrary emotions. The adventurous soul wants to open the door to see what is on the other side. For some people doors are better left shut, passed by, or ignored.

A door is a solid partition. It encloses and hides. Some gates conceal while others seem to invite us to visit.

Houses, doors and gates are good images for poetic reflection, and over the years some of my writing students have produced vocative lines related to these commonplace objects. Here are a few of the more memorable lines:

J. Leaver (Grade 11)

Wall hangings depict the history of the house
Where distant smells hold fast.
Framed portraits depict unfailing youth
Where timbers rot and floor boards creak.


Salim Fauras (Grade 9)

When thinking of home
I miss…