Sunday, June 5, 2016

So there!

Writer, Jeanette Winterson, who also teaches creative writing at Manchester University, was asked to comment on the accusation that all such courses are a waste of time.

Here's what she said:

"My job is not to teach my MA students to write; my job is to explode language in their faces. To show them that writing is both bomb and bomb disposal – a necessary shattering of cliche and assumption, and a powerful defusing of the soul-destroying messages of modern life (that nothing matters, nothing changes, money is everything, etc). Writing is a state of being as well as an act of doing. My job is to alter their relationship with language. The rest is up to them."

I want to enrol in HER class!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Earth from the moon (3)

I used to look at pictures of earth taken from space
and wonder why we think its important this
thing we call the human race. But deep inside
I also knew we count - we do - and I was
never really able to reconcile the two.

Then finally it dawned on me that the importance of a thing
is not what it brings in terms of size or how long it lives
but rather the reckoning of it God gives.

And He has made it clear through the giving
of His Son that He values the souls of the living
and the one who never departs from His
teaching will live with Him forever.

So yes, our souls are small in might but
they are indeed precious in the sight of Him
who has the power to deliver us from darkness
into His marvellous light.

Earth from the moon (2)

"Viewed from the distance of the moon, the astonishing thing about the earth, catching the breath, is that is is alive. [Neil Armstrong's] photographs show the dry, pounded surface of the moon in the foreground, dry as an old bone. Aloft, floating free beneath the moist, gleaming, membrane of bright blue sky, is the rising earth, the only exuberant thing in this part of the cosmos….. It has the organised, self-contained look of a live creature, full of information, marvellously skilled in handling the sun."

Lewis Thomas (quoted by Simon Winchester in "A Crack in the Edge of the World")

Earth from the moon

"What [Neil Armstrong] saw - and what we saw through his eyes, which we now perhaps take for granted - was a thing of incredible and fragile beauty. It was a floating, near-spherical body, tricked out in deep blue and pale green, with the white of polar ice and mountain summits, with great grey swirls and sheets of clouds and storms, and with the terminator line dividing darkness and light seeming to sweep slowly across the planet's face it turned into and out of the sun. It was a lovely aspect to contemplate. And it was a view that in time compelled mankind to take stock."

Simon Winchester, in "A Crack in the Edge Of the World"

Alas, that wonder dimmed I fear, and along with it, the "stock-taking". We've regained a sense of it now, but is it too late?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Here, now.

"Everest Base Camp now has satellite phones, internet connection, movies and comfortable lounge chairs. This takes the participants back to where they've come from, which is a bit sad, because they're not being present."

Greg Mortimer, quoted in Smith Journal Vol.19 2016, p33

Alone (and loving it)

"I have found with the passage of time a deeper and deeper satisfaction being in isolated, wild places. It's not so much a function of isolation but wilderness. It's that unrelenting, unforgiving, uncompromising sense of power you get in wilderness and the sense of humility that comes from being exposed to nature. It blew me away when I was a kid. There's almost an addictive quality to it: when you get used to one level, you want a bit more."

Greg Mortimer, as quoted in Smith Journal Vol.19 2016, p33

Grand Canyon, USA

Waaaay ahead of his time

"Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of wellbeing and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it."

Soren Kierkegaard (1813 - 55)