From The Narnian, by Alan Jacobs: "[C.S. Lewis] did not know what difference being a Christian was supposed to make, or could make, in his life as a literary writer. He needed clarification—he needed a better grasp of the intellectual landscape through which he was moving. In August 1932, when he was taking an Irish … Continue reading How C.S. Lewis Wrote Books
There are times in life when you meet nerdy enthusiasts whose speech and mannerisms make you promise to never stoop to such depths of nerdy obsession yourself---only to later realize you merely needed the right book to pull you in. This is what happened to me when I first read The Lord of the Rings … Continue reading Book Review: ‘Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth’
English professor Scott Newstok has feelings about the value of the Renaissance education model. In an interview with Brett McKay, he argues that education in general should focus less on passing tests and more on sharpening students' ability to think and write. McKay asks him why the Renaissance model of education is so effective in … Continue reading Why Renaissance Educators Were “Incredibly Invested” in the Verbal Arts
Robin Sloan in his July 2022 newsletter writes about watching every movie ever made by the beloved Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki. Scroll to the end to read his observations. Here's what he says about Kiki's Delivery Service: There is so much kindness in so many of Miyazaki’s movies. Plots animated by kindness. If people … Continue reading Plots Animated by Kindness
You might think that Robert Eggers was exaggerating when he said we live in a "tiresome, lame, commercial culture now". I thought he might be. Didn't America produce a bunch of good movies, books, and music in the past decade? Then I read the following: American culture has exhausted itself. It is running on fumes. … Continue reading Exhausted Culture
I'm ruminating on this wholly unexpected observation from Robert Eggers about his latest movie 'The Northman': "This sounds super uber-precious, but I think it's hard to do this kind of creative work [directing] in a modern secular society because it becomes all about your ego and yourself. And I am envious — this is the horrible part — I'm envious of medieval craftsmen who are doing the work for God."
Hundreds of years ago, the English theologian John Wesley wrote a moving commentary on the radical, self-sacrificial love commanded by Jesus Christ. It's remarkable how reading this passage today shows a stark contrast between biblical love and the type of love touted in the shallow memes of social media.
Design expert Donald Norman has written that when people are anxious, they narrow their thought processes. Conversely when people are happy, they become more creative and imaginative at solving problems. If this is true, it means that one of the best things a technical writer can do is create beautiful content that moves readers to a happier, more adaptive emotional state. Or so I contend.
A journey through the Old Forest looks totally different from my day-to-day existence. Yet this passage from Tolkien is a pretty apt description of what I found life to be like in 2020, and continues to be like in 2021---a description that resonates more deeply with me than the Groundhog Day metaphor.
With the new year comes new resolutions, a common one being to read new books that challenge you. The idea is that doing so will expand your mind, make you a better person. But is that the inevitable outcome of such an endeavor? English professor Micah Mattix doesn't think so.