Happy Holy Week - hands down my favorite week of the year, culminating in Easter Sunday. Today, of course, is Maundy Thursday. I've been focusing my reading on the gospel of John and two spectacular little books of art: The Art of Lent and The Art of Holy Week and Easter, both by Sister Wendy … Continue reading A Voice You Love
Writing Inspiration: Ancient Bath Ruins and Why Roman Baths Disappeared
The other day I saw some paintings of ancient baths which got my imagination going. The scale of the architecture has almost a mythical quality. There are traces here of the capricci style, which has a special place in my heart. Hubert Robert, “Ruins of a Roman Bath with Washerwomen”. Source: Hyperallergic.com. Hubert Robert, "Ancient … Continue reading Writing Inspiration: Ancient Bath Ruins and Why Roman Baths Disappeared
Novels Against Moralism
In Image Journal, James K.A. Smith writes about the tension between the ethical life (e.g., engaging in social justice) and the aesthetic life (e.g., writing novels and poetry), arguing that a life of genuine faith may actually be closer to the aesthetic life than you might guess. He draws most prominently from the novel Either/Or, … Continue reading Novels Against Moralism
Writing Inspiration: Weird Gardenscapes
I came across the following image in a book review of the recently-published English Garden Eccentrics. Source: The Critic.co.uk With the open cloudy sky and the grassy pasture jutting up against a wide plane of glacier-like rock formations and distant mountains, it strikes me as something out of a fantasy novel. I don't know exactly … Continue reading Writing Inspiration: Weird Gardenscapes
How C.S. Lewis Wrote Books
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
Book Review: ‘Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth’
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’
Plots Animated by Kindness
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
Robert Eggers on Creative Work in a Non-Religious World
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."
Do Attractive Documents Work Better?
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.