Friday, October 4, 2013

7 Quick Takes Vol. 19

Still hosted by Conversion Diary!

1.       I went on my long-weekend personal retreat last week. I’ve been meaning to write a dedicated post about it, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Consider this a foretaste. In any case, I had a wonderful time; I read and wrote and played my violin and walked around the woods hacking tree branches with my machete to use in a fire and just sat outside looking at Lake Michigan and reflecting.

2.       I loved the quiet of the UP (though I wasn’t as isolated as I had hoped; there being cabins on either side of me and Escanaba right across the bay). I could just sit and breathe and think for long periods without an distractions, and I loved it. Speaking of no distractions, there wasn’t any wi fi, so I got a lovely four-day break from the internet, reinforcing my previous suspicions that I use it way too much.

3.       As part of the reflection part I read (partly) through two excellent books: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Don Miller. I’d read both before, but enjoyed the chance to review them and re-absorb the powerful messages therewithin. They both helped me do some diagnosis and planning for making a better life for myself. I’ll probably talk more about that in the future when I’ve had more opportunity to digest my reflections.

4.       I also read some Plato, which was delightful, and it inspired me to do some work on a very casual book on Ethics I’ve been fiddling with. Ethics is sort of my passion philosophically; I love parsing and fiddling with it and coaxing out all sorts of lovely little rules and axioms. Most of my writing, though, was dedicated to the new book series I’m working on, about which I don’t want to say too much except that I’m aiming at the young adult market and it has an extremely marketable premise. J  

5.       So, I recently got a new desk-top computer to supplement my over-taxed laptop. This means that, for the first time in ages, I’ve been able to indulge in my hobby of making music videos. At least, I managed to make one before my external hard-drive, which contains all my video files, broke down, necessitating my sending it out to try to get the data recovered, which will take a few weeks and cost a considerable amount of dough. The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.

6.       Of course, everyone in the Catholic blogsphere has been struggling mightily to come to terms with Pope Francis’s recently revealed penchant for giving off-the-cuff interviews in which he says things that are easily misconstrued, which in the process means that a lot of his less-confusing and lovely statements get missed. For my part, I rather wish he’d be a bit more careful, but I also wish everyone reading him would calm down and listen a little more carefully. I still love Francis, though he certainly isn’t my style of Pope (I’m more like Benedict; bookish, quiet, and not really a fan of being with a lot of people). Speaking of which, we’ve been hearing from Pope Emeritus Benedict a lot more than I had expected, which is all to the good! If you haven’t read the released sections of his letter to the atheist mathematician regarding the latter’s review of his book, go find it now!

7.       I was shocked to hear that Tom Clancy – whom I haven’t read nearly enough but consider myself a fan of – died at the much-too young age of 66. Clancy was a conservative and at least in some way a Catholic, both of which are sadly rare things among bestselling authors. But what we’ll remember him for is his excellent thrillers like The Hunt for Red October and (the only book of his I’ve read and one of my favorites) Rainbow Six. Requiescat in pacem, magister.

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