“Meditation always starts with deep breathing and ends with me adding new people to my enemies list.”— Comedian Laurie Kilmartin, tweet of Mar. 4, 2015
Friday, November 30, 2018
Thursday, November 29, 2018
“Heaven enters wherever Christ enters, even in this life.” —English novelist, academic, and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), Feb. 22, 1944 letter, quoted in The Quotable Lewis, edited by Jerry Root and Wayne Martindale (2012)
Today would have been the 120th birthday of C.S. Lewis—who, in addition to creating the beloved set of fantasy classics The Chronicles of Narnia, also wrote some of the most persuasive defenses of Christianity published in the last century. (Incidentally, his death would have attracted far more media attention, except that it occurred on the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.)
(This post is written for my college friend Greg—who may be an even bigger fan of Lewis than I am.)
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
“Nothing is out of the question the way I live my life. I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning. That’s when it starts – when I wake up and see the first light. Then, I’m grateful, and I can’t wait to wake up, because there’s something to do and try everyday. Everyday I find something creative to do with my life.” — American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer Miles Davis (1926-1991) with Quincy Troupe, Miles: The Autobiography (1990)
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
I came upon this bronze statue by the late Welsh sculptor Barry Flanagan in the space between 51st and 52nd Streets, and 7th Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas. It’s one of those serendipitous finds you come across in Manhattan when you’re trying to get from one place to another. In any case, it’s enough to put a smile on your face.
“There was a wonderful sunset across the distant sky, reflected in the sea, streaked with blood and puffed with avenging purple and gold as if the end of the world had come without intruding on everyday life.”—Scottish novelist Muriel Spark (1918-2006), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)
The centennial of her birth has come and gone, but I couldn’t let 2018 depart without a post about Muriel Spark. She wrote much throughout her career, but—at least partly due to the 1969 film starring Maggie Smith (pictured here)—The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is her most famous.
The quote you see here gives a marvelous impression of her style, but what it cannot do is give a sufficient idea of the treasures of the novel—very much including its unreliable narrator. For anyone considering education as a profession, it offers a morally stringent view of how teachers can form—and, as in this work, deform—the young. And it demonstrates convincingly that, no matter how the merits of a film (or, in this case, a play, too), a novel has pleasures unrivaled by visual media.