The Joys Of Deleting

There is an odd social pressure to collect stuff. This may be due to our tendency to buy the latest and greatest in good consumer fashion, and it may be due to our belief that more information is good information and you can never have too much (not true). It is likely a combination of both and a variety of other factors which I have overlooked.

In any case, we both consume and store more and more information every day and most technology is concerned with getting it to you faster and cheaper, whether it be your smartphone, your media server, or Gmail. I think that is wrong. Continue reading

On Creativity And Inspiration

I’ve noticed in the past couple weeks how creatively dull this semester has felt, particularly regarding this blog. I had chalked it up to being busy: “I don’t have time to do homework and blog and keep up with the details of life!” Ah, but I still have time that I kill, regularly.

So I started wondering: what gives? What is it about this semester that makes it feel the way it does?

Last week I got my much anticipated copy of On The Edge of the Dark Sea Of Darkness in the mail, and, well, indulged. I permitted myself the luxury of spending a piece of my evening (in reality, four+ hours) ignoring school work and sleep, immersing myself in the story. (I just can’t seem to stay away from something that has such a seriously goofy title, by one of my favorite artists, with a subtitle that reads: “Adventure. Peril. Lost jewels. And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree.”)

Then I realized some of what I was missing: inspiration. Creative input, artistic brain food, whatever you want to call it. For me, that is something I generally get from reading excellent books. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been do a lot of reading this semester – reading about management and team building and statistics and building things with CAD. Stuff that is really pretty creative in practice (maybe excepting statistics), but not much that really inspires in textbook form.

I hadn’t been reading for the sake of reading, to enjoy the existence of a good book.

There must be a balance. Too often I try to read things because I think I should, or because it’s useful, it’s related to something I’m interested in or is supplemental to an interesting topic from a class. But, many times, that’s more taxing than it is helpful, and what I need most is a break from trying to remember useful information. I need to take time away from the every day tasks, I need to spend time enjoying and admiring creation in the work of others, to be refreshed and inspired. Shards of reality often are more clearly seen encapsulated in myth than in daily life; the creation, more often than not, reflects glimpses of the Creator.

And it’s inspiring. (I keep using that word. It really does mean what I think it means.)

Dr. Seuss And Theology

Have you ever thought how much God is like Green Eggs & Ham? It’s a weird food. It’s somewhat odd stuff, it doesn’t look right and sounds sorta disgusting. Ham and Eggs are not supposed to be Green, it just isn’t right. It’s unconventional. And it’s introduced to us in an unconventional way, by an unconventional guy with an unconventional name – and that unconventional guy, The Great Sam-I-Am, just will not go away.

Then we go through so much ridiculous trouble to avoid him and his abnormally colored wares. (“I will not eat it with a Fox, I will not eat it in a box!” Or on a train, or in a plane…) And after going through all that, we find out that Green Eggs & Ham really are really good, after all! And we end up good friends with the Great Sam-I-Am himself, creator of this strangely unconventional dish that apparently isn’t even sold in stores, but given personally.

So there you have it, metaphor where there never was (and probably ever shouldn’t be). This post brought to you by the color Green and Theolo-vision.

Things I’ve Recently Discovered

Item One: The Klezmonauts – Oy to the World!
You may have already guessed, but Oy to the World is a klezmer Christmas album. Yes, the songs and carols you know artfully arranged in – well, a (mostly) klezmer style. It’s one of those unique finds that somehow defies normality and manages to be musically excellent, quirky, humorous, and poignant, all at the same time. I really need to get my own copy.

Item Two: Time Flies.
Here it is 2008 already, and I haven’t blogged since last spring. Scary how more than half a year can fly by so busily with nary a peep escaping to the electronic presence. I think the introverted season has been good – or has it been extroverted? Am I stuck so far in my own head so I don’t write, or am I so busy reading and consuming other writings that I don’t write? I really have no idea. Anyway, it’s been different, and now this next bit will probably be different as well, but I don’t know how or what way it’ll affect this blog.

Item Three: Books are Really Cool.
Having not made/had much time to read in the past summer and fall, it was nice to actually finish A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court after about seven months of reading it in fits and starts. It was also nice to get through a couple other books on my reading list in the space of a couple weeks – an amount of dead-tree examination unheard of in the recent months. The recommendation stands for all of them:
1) A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Mark Twain)
2) Too Busy Not To Pray (Bill Hybels)
3) Me, Myself and Bob (Phil Vischer)

Which reminds me, I don’t have a super-schnazzy rating system to use when recommending things here. Have to work on that.