Monday, September 6, 2010

"So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years--
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to learn to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotions. And what there is to
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot
To emulate--but there is no competition--
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business."
-T. S. Eliot

WELL. That above is my living room. I love the hardwood flooring and the high ceilings. The constant creaking of the floors is my only continual company and quite welcomed. The large windows let in a lot of natural light, which I am slowly saying goodbye to as Fall descends upon the Great North and signs of winter are on the way. I'm beginning to feel settled here in the studio-apartment and have begun having visitors, which is nice. I've tried my hand at a few meals and (so far) no disasters. (Aunt Barb, feel free to visit anytime--I've got room for you and I will cook for you as well!)

Work is going well and busy. I'm finding myself more and more familiar, and happily meeting many new people. This week is the first week of Religious Education classes and so we're in for a busy week, and then before we know it, I'm sure the year will be gone.

On the bookshelf as of late:

O.E. Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth. Story behind the book: The date was 14 February 2010...celebrated by some as Singles Awareness Day and by others as a day of engagement...and yet by others a day of break ups (I've heard numerous stories about break ups on Valentine's Day...kinda crazy). After the 8am Mass at the lovely Ave Maria University I made my way over to the Bean and happily found myself in line behind Mr. Michael Novak. For those of you who do not know, wikipedia defines him as an "American Catholic philosopher, journalist, novelist and diplomat...served as the US chief ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights..." etc. He took up residence at Ave Maria University and taught a 2-credit class which rumors said was great. I found myself, with my lack of training in speaking eloquently and absence of the mind-file that has all those smart big words, behind Mr. Michael Novak at the coffeeshop on Valentine's Day. Small talk led to his offer to pay for my breakfast and an invite to seat with him. The next hour went along, minute by minute as it would, and we talked from my studies to his wife to his history to my future plans to books...--the books being the which for this post. M. Novak's wife, whose name eludes me, loved Giants in the Earth by O.E. Rolvaag. I quickly wrote down the name of this book, and her reason for loving it--she was straight Norwegian, and the book tells the story of Norwegian settlers in the Dakotas. On my most recent travels to the West Coast, and while perusing the expansive rows of Portland's Powell's Books--among the few books that I did see (and many were missed), I found Giants in the Earth by O.E. Rolvaag and quickly grabbed it for purchase. I was immediately reminded of my lovely Valentine date, and M. Novak's comments that his wife was blonde like me--and when my nervous-ness to speak with such an educated man dissolved into a genuine appreciation for the man who simply wanted to be a man, and wasn't worried about too much. I have also started reading it in the past week, and tears were brought to my eyes by the end of the first chapter.

T.S. Eliot's Collected Poems: Especially "Four Quartets." I was delighted to be reading East Coker in the park today and found the phrase "And so each venture/Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate/With shabby equipment always deteriorating/In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,/Undisciplined squads of emotion." The phrase "a raid on the inarticulate" is part of the name of a friend's blog. And all along I knew it was from somewhere. I hoped I would upon it naturally, and was happy to finally find it...Check out Sophie's Blog.

C.S. Lewis' The Four Loves: This one I read rather quickly, in two days, and plucking out a few themes in the chapter on friendship, I followed these closely through the rest of the book and left all the other ideas to be found in the next reading. I'd like to re-read it again soon.

And finally, G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy: So far I am loving this. I'm not quite sure how many chapters I have left in this one, but I'm reading it with a friend and it's a marvelous little book. Again, like with Lewis, I have been plucking out themes that capture my attention now and hope to re-read it again soon.

This, my friends, is the bookcase I built. Yes--I built. Space-cadette and un-handy-woman that I am, my grandfather found a way to smooth out my mistakes behind me as I forged on in building this bookcase with him :). It turned out great.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I would love to visit you!!!! Maybe one day you'll find me on your door step.

    I heard all about your grandfather/granddaughter book case project. You two work very well together. From what I hear you'll be needing anoher one soon.

    Loved hearing the story on your breakfast with Mr Novak. Sounds like a very interesting man.

    Love, Aunt Barb