Writing vs. Being: Miss Julie and Other Plays by August Strindberg

Sometimes I’m seized by a passionate desire to say exactly what I’m thinking; but I know that if people were absolutely frank the world would come to an end.

The Ghost Sonata

I watched a good video by booktuber R.C. Waldun today. In it, he talked about the need for academics and thinkers to get out in the world and actually live. He described writing as the crossover between living and reading (and, implied, grappling with ideas). This made so much sense to me. I was left motivated to live more, outside of the daily routine of work, and to write more.

That said… As I try to collect my thoughts on August Strindberg (1849–1912), I realize the things which challenged (or even offended) me in his writing are the very things that make his writing an emblem of his life—the crossover between his ideas and his personal identity. This is not unique to Strindberg, of course. From this, I have to ask—how does one “review” a piece of someone’s life?

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Grateful: Kafka’s Lost Writings, etc

In my off-hours this week, I’ve been absorbing The Lost Writings of Franz Kafka. This little book is an enchanting diversion from social media. It also made me realize I’d been in a reading rut. Not for lack of reading, or even good reading material, but for lack of joy.

It is funny that a writer such as Kafka could bring me joy. (The sketch about the bread loaf that refused to be cut was downright hilarious.) Yet in these forgotten excerpts, there is a gentleness and humor that pulls you in, without neglecting the darker shadows of life that he, like us, knew only too well. Kafka shows a human, even tender, side in scraps of writing such as “I can swim as well as the others…“, “I loved a girl who loved me back…“, and “I am fighting; no one knows it…” Then the irony—that he wanted all of this burned!

I am grateful, selfishly perhaps, there is still more Kafka to be read.


This will be my family’s smallest Thanksgiving yet, I think—just us. It’s technically illegal to meet with multiple families here, but we wouldn’t anyway because of my grandparents’ health. It will feel a little strange, compared to past years, but I’m glad we can still celebrate even in a small way. I’ll be contributing for the first time (baking cookies!), and Friday we’re putting up the big Christmas tree. So it should be a good time in spite of everything.

I have quite a stack of books to read and am hoping to make a dent in it this weekend. If all goes well, expect a slew of reviews!

I hope you all have lovely Thanksgiving if you celebrate, and a great day regardless. I’m so grateful for all of you!

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When Principles Aren’t Enough – Christianity in View of Osamu Dazai’s The Setting Sun

So… this is part-book review, part-religious monologue—thinking out loud, really. It’s just a personal reflection. It could come across preachy or possibly offensive, neither of which is my intention. Please feel free to skip if this isn’t your cup of tea. ❤

I appreciate you all, so much.


You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
—Matthew 5:43-45

As I write this, it’s 12:40 AM, Saturday morning, and we in the U.S. still do not know the outcome of the election.

We do know that our country is split down the middle. Actually, fractured would be a better description. There are some, on all sides, who are terrified about the future and for their own safety. This is just the tip of an iceberg that has been growing for a very long time. In some ways, it has little to do with presidents, and much to do with people.

With that weight on my heart, I’ve been meditating on the above verse. By meditating… I mean the phrase “love your enemies” came into my head a few weeks ago, as spoken on the Jesus movie by actor Brian Deacon. (The way he said it with a confident conviction is something that stuck with me since childhood.) Later on, I saw the phrase on a church billboard as I was driving one day. Then a friend quoted it to me, unprompted and out of the blue. It won’t stop following me around…

So, what does this all have to do with a somewhat obscure 1947 Japanese novel? For a Christian, and to my surprise, literally everything.

The great struggle I have with the verse is, of course, actually living by it. The characters in Osamu Dazai’s The Setting Sun grapple with similar conflicts, or rather, with living by principles in general. They come to rather different conclusions.

In the last analysis my death is a natural one—man cannot live exclusively for principles.

The Setting Sun, ch. 7

Victims. Victims of a transitional period of morality. That is what we both certainly are.

The Setting Sun, ch. 8

The overarching theme of the book is this: when life circumstances become terrible, destruction—of traditions, others, or one’s self—is a natural reaction. When things get bad enough, when simply living day-to-day is a struggle, leading a good and noble life is not only difficult—it’s unreasonable. Pursuing a hedonistic life, putting one’s self first when it comes down to the wire, may be the only way for us to survive.

Does this sound familiar?

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Top Ten Non-Bookish Hobbies

Here’s a little levity for this angsty day: my top ten hobbies outside of reading!

  1. YouTube – I’m one of those hypocrites who is proud for not owning TV, while watching YouTube all day. 😆 It’s not all mindless… I listen to music and podcasts when I work, and sometimes political commentary in the evening, and then the occasional lecture or long interview. My current guilty pleasures are comedy skits and K-pop music videos (which I never-in-a-million-years thought I’d get into. See, people can change.).
  2. Music – I play piano and violin, when the mood strikes me. On my other blog, I listen to and analyze pop music.
  3. Cooking – A year ago, I set a goal for 2020 to learn how to cook. I started this past August, and now I cook every week and sometimes bake. Being mostly vegetarian cuts down some of the cost and unpleasantness!
  4. Writing – I love writing stories and poetry. I have a little book coming out in a week or two (self-published). More on that soon…
  5. Conversating – There’s few things so fun to me as long discussions about politics, religion, and history with someone who is open minded or at least won’t make it personal. Though I have strong opinions on certain things, I dislike debating from just one side; I prefer looking at multiple ideas and going over the pros/cons with the other person. I will sometimes play devil’s advocate if I feel a conversation is getting too narrow in scope. (My poor family is used to it now.)
  6. Decorating – Well, those of you who watch my YouTube videos know about this one. I’m fond of pictures, flowers, and figurines. I try to keep it budget friendly; most of it comes from Dollar Tree, Daiso, and Hobby Lobby!
  7. Movies – My family and I watch/rate movies together every month. Usually old movies (we have an ongoing Alfred Hitchcock project), but also costume dramas and indie films. I just started a Letterboxd account, not much on there yet but feel free to add me if you’d like; it’s sort of a Goodreads for movies.
  8. Walking – I used to walk daily and still love nature walks when I can. Recently, though, I’ve been getting my exercise at the grocery store (thanks, Freddy’s, for moving everything).
  9. Shopping – I enjoy shopping for home decor, lots of the time I’ll just window shop to see what they have. Hobby Lobby, At Home, Joanns, all those fun places.
  10. Sewing – To be honest, I haven’t sewn as a hobby in years, mostly for lack of time. I used to be really into it, making clothes and stuff. I still do small projects, like hemming pants, when I need to.
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