A Grief Observed – Thoughts

C. S. Lewis married his one and only wife, Joy Gresham, when he was 57 years old. Shortly afterwards, Joy was diagnosed with cancer—just four years later, she passed away. A Grief Observed is a collection of Lewis’s notes from the time of his mourning.

As another reviewer mentioned on Goodreads, you don’t pick up this book for fun but out of some personal need. Both death and loss arrived in my life suddenly this past spring, and I knew I should pick it up this year. I read it through last night and came away feeling… well, not comforted exactly but at least understood, in part.

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Thoreau on News, Spiritual Life

Last week I read “Life Without Principle” by Henry David Thoreau on the YouTube channel. It’s a fairly short essay (text here) and, from what I could tell, gives a good overview of his outlook on the world if you haven’t read Walden in entirety yet (*cough* guilty).

He has a lot of good thoughts and hot takes, but the main idea that’s lingered with me is the need to keep your inner self as pure as possible from news and other negativity. He’s not saying to go live under a rock—or is he? ๐Ÿ˜† —but rather emphasizing how useless it can be to obsess over current events. He even extends this warning to personal correspondence!

When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip. We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is, that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not. In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post-office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while.

I can’t imagine what he would say about the “poor fellow” addicted to social media…

Thoreau goes on to speak of preserving “the mind’s chastity” as an antidote to “intellectual and moral suicide.” Similar to Sherlock Holmes’s cautions about filling your brain-attic with junk (although of a different context), Thoreau warns against filling your head with sordid contemplations, even if they are of the real world.

This is similar to what James writes in the first chapter of his letter:

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
(James 1:27, emphasis added)

I have been feeling pretty convicted about this already, and reading Thoreau’s essay amplified the message. I want to make some positive changes in my life towards this end, but I am not sure what form they will take yet.

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‘Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking’

I can’t really call this a What I’m Reading because I’m barely reading these days… just finishing up Palace of the Peacock (Wilson Harris) and then The Secret History (Donna Tartt). I also read the Prologue to When I Whistle (Endo). But I have no posts prepared for these books yet…

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve also been interviewing for a job at a tech startup. I don’t know if I will be getting an offer or if I will accept it if I do. Feeling really undecided. It’s been good practice, in any case—I haven’t interviewed in a couple of years, and I’ve been getting rusty.

I’m getting so excited for fall! I am working on a poetry book (slowly but surely) which I hope to self-publish in a couple of months. Reading wise, not a lot of plans, just continuing reading books from around the world and whatever catches my fancy. How about you?

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The Marksman & Minari – Inklings of the Modern Western?

Recently I watched a couple of films featuring immigrant stories of today: The Marksman (2021) and Minari (2020). One thing that struck me was how both these films continued classic Western storylines within a modern framework. These were both 4-5 stars for me, so I thought I’d jot some thoughts down.

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