I Need a Project

Several weeks ago, maybe when I was home for Thanksgiving, my sister played the movie “Julie and Julia” in which a woman cooks through Julia Child’s entire cookbook in a year and blogs daily about it. This has sometimes made me want a topic for a regular blogging project/challenge. Posting every day is not possible with my work schedule. I will settle for a weekly project. Maybe it could fill my Friday posts. That would leave Tuesdays open for me to post about other topics.

So, what would I write? That is the big question. Posting twice each week as I do now is itself a challenge, but this project needs to be more specific. A month in Iona would be fun, but like I explained, I do not have the money or time off of work to take that trip. Maybe someday I will.

I need something closer to home, and it needs to last longer than one month. I am blogging through some of my favorite books from childhood. I am enjoying that series, but I need something more long-term. I have also blogged on theological and philosophical themes in movies with more movies to come, but those take a long time to write. Writing one each week is likely not possible.

This will take time to consider. The project needs something I can do here with my current work schedule and income. I also want it to be entertaining or interesting for readers, not something that interests only me. I will continue to think about this, and I am open to suggestions.

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Return to Reading

I explained earlier this month that I decided to read more this year. I used to read extensively. Sometimes I would have three books in progress, but one or two was ideal. A few years after moving back to Georgia that habit fell away. I would try to read, but I often had difficulty finding the drive to keep going. Maybe the hard time I was having with work was a factor.

Whatever the cause, this bothered me. I am a thinker, and my independent reading has been vital to forming how I view the world. I knew I needed to get back into reading, and so this year I decided to try a Goodreads reading challenge.

I set a goal of ten books in my Goodreads reading challenge. I am getting back into the habit, and so I posted an easily attainable goal . . ., but I plan to exceed it. As I write this I have finished two books (well, actually closer to one and a half books because I started one late last year), and so I am ahead of schedule. What if I reach ten books by the end of June (which is possible at this rate)? Well, I might try to go for twenty by the end of the year.

I have noticed that trying the reading challenge has helped me regain momentum and drive to read. I now look forward to spending time just reading. That is great. I needed that. It feels good to make more productive use of my free time.

I post my “Currently Reading” and “To Read” lists on the right-hand panel of this blog. The “To Read” list is subject to change, but it currently consists of fiction, books on writing, church history, and theology. I want to add a Goodreads Reading Challenge progress meter widget, but WordPress will not accept JavaScript. If you know a way to work around this, then please leave a comment.

What is your reading goal this year? What kinds of books do you plan to read? If you use Goodreads, then feel free to send me a friend request.

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Book Review: “Frankenstein Moved in on the Fourth Floor”

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I received Frankenstein Moved in on the Fourth Floor (by Elizabeth Levy, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein) in a mail order book club. In each shipment I received a set of books selected by the company. This book came in the same shipment as The Ghost of Windy Hill (reviewed here). Some of the books in that club never interested me, but these two books remained among my favorites.

Plot Summary

Sam Bamford lives in a large city with his mother and his brother Robert (which city is not specified). He and his mother need to pick up Robert at a friend’s house, but the elevator in their apartment building is stuck on the fourth floor. They do not want to walk down from the nineteenth floor where they live, but they see no alternative. Sam runs ahead of his mother. When he reaches the fourth floor landing he finds boxes filled with wires. When he looks through them a strange man wearing headphones yells at him. Sam thinks he was a monster.

He and his mother then find boxes in the fourth floor hallway and some propping the elevator open. Mrs Bamford goes to the owner’s room to speak with him. The owner of the boxes, Mr. Frank, says he has delicate equipment in the boxes and must move them slowly. While they are talking Sam puts on Frank’s headphones and hears strange music. Frank yanks them off of Sam’s head. When the Bamfords reach the lobby they find people waiting for the elevator who comment on how rude Frank is.

After Sam and Mrs. Bamford pick up Robert, they all walk home. Robert shows Sam a Dracula doll he got from his friend. Sam comments on how weird Frank is and speculates he may be the real Frankenstein. When they return to their apartment he skims through his abridged copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to look for similarities between Frankenstein and Mr. Frank.

The next day Sam and Robert go to the basement and find Mr. Frank’s storage room. Sam wonders if Frank keeps dead bodies there. They notice the keyhole smells musty and decide they should leave.

The next week Sam and Robert are on the swings outside their building when the wind blows a pile of boxes. They help the building superintendent Mr. Christiansen gather them. He says that they belong to Mr. Frank and that he keeps moving more in. Christiansen finds Robert’s Dracula doll on the ground and hands it to him.

A few days later the boys and Mrs. Bamford see Mr. Clem at the grocery store. He is wearing earplug which he uses to dampen the sounds from Mr. Frank’s apartment. He did not realize he was still wearing them.

When they arrive at their building the power is out because someone on the fourth floor overloaded the circuits. They are forced to leave their groceries in the lobby and walk up the stairs to their apartment on the nineteenth floor. On the way they meet Mr Frank who explains he was working on something and that the power outage could ruin his equipment. He also complains that the people in the building are too nosy.

The power is restored when they enter their apartment, and so the boys ride the elevator down to get the groceries. They learn that the overload began in Mr. Frank’s apartment. Mr. Christiansen says Frank has a large amount of electronic equipment.

On the way back upstairs Sam speculates about whether Mr. Frank really is Frankenstein. When he is back in his room he compiles a list of perceived similarities and concludes that Mr. Frank is Frankenstein. He needs evidence before coming forward with his conclusion, and so he suggests they look in Mr. Frank’s storage room in the basement.

In the morning, after making sure Mr. Frank is in his apartment, Sam and Robert go to the basement. Robert brings his Dracula doll. They find a large padlock on his storage room door, but the walls of the storage rooms only go part way to the ceiling with chicken wire at the top. Sam stacks some boxes so that he can climb up to the wire. He finds a small opening and talks Robert into climbing through. Inside Robert finds old  radios, record players, and various wires. Sam wants Robert to look for monster-making equipment, but Roberts is afraid and refuses to remain.

As he climbs up Robert knocks over a box, spilling glass tubes which break on the floor. He is afraid Mr. Frank will know they did it, but Sam thinks they can just remain quiet and hope Mr. Frank thinks a cat did it. At dinner Robert asks Mrs. Bamford what she knows about Frankenstein. She says he made monsters from electricity and old wire. This disturbs Robert.

Around 6:30 the next morning Robert wakes up in fear. He realizes he lost his Dracula doll. He had it when he climbed into Mr Frank’s storage room and concludes he dropped it when he knocked over the box. Many people have seen him with the doll, including the superintendent Mr. Christiansen. If Frank finds it and reports it to Christiansen then he will easily conclude that Robert knocked over the box.

He and Sam sneak to the basement to find the doll. They find a “Keep Out” sign over the hole in the wire. While trying to see if the Dracula is still in there, Mr. Frank grabs Robert. Sam pulls him free. Frank is blocking the elevator, and so they run up the stairs.

They run all the way to the nineteenth floor with Frank chasing them and then run into their apartment. He bangs on their door. When Mrs. Bamford answers he tells her that the boys were in his storage room. He explains he had rigged a walkie-talkie to help him catch them. He says he is good with electricity and that it is hobby.

When he leaves, Mrs. Bamford questions the boys. When the boys say he could make many monsters with the wire in his room she tells them that Frankenstein is not real.

The next week, Frank moves out because he thinks too may people are meddling in his affairs. Mr Clem says Frank claimed to be a composer, but Clem insists the noises coming from the apartment were not music. No one is sorry to see Frank leave. The boys go to his storage room. The wires and equipment are gone, but they find the Dracula doll with one arm ripped off. Sam says Frank needs it to make a monster. Robert wonders if he truly is Frankenstein.

Comments

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has been adapted countless times. Frankenstein Moved in on the Fourth Floor is a fun adaptation which is easy for children to read. It also plays on children’s tendency to let their imaginations run wild. Mr. Frank is rude, secretive, strange, and a pack rat. Nonetheless, he is not the real Victor Frankenstein, but Sam is convinced based on the weak, circumstantial arguments.

I appreciate that this story makes clear that Frankenstein was the doctor rather than the monster. That important detail is missed even today. I must admit, however, that I once misunderstood that detail. I remember watching a cartoon as a child in which a monster was rampaging through a town. People screamed in fear that it was a “Frankenstein monster.” That did not make sense to me. A “Frankenstein monster”? Why not just call it a Frankenstein? Like I said, I did not know at the time that Frankenstein was the doctor.

Maybe sometime I will write one of my theological and philosophical movie reviews on the 1994 Frankenstein movie. It explores the important distinction between whether we can do something and whether we should do something. That is a distinction which remains relevant today in many arenas.

Like I have said before, I enjoy writing about childhood favorites because it brings back memories which have been largely buried for many years. If you review your favorites, then please feel free to post links in the comments of this post. I would enjoy reading them.

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Tourism Posts I Want to Write . . . but Might Not Have the Chance

One of my topics in this blog has been to cover fun travel destinations. I wrote a series on my family’s trip to Fontana Village in the NC mountains and a post on my hike in Tallulah Gorge near Toccoa, GA. I hope to cover other destinations when I have the opportunity. There are a few destinations that I think would be fun and would make great posts, but I am unlikely to visit them due to finances and the demands of my job.

I think it would be fun to visit the island of Iona. I visited Scotland in (I think) March of 2001 for a church history tour. I was deciding where to pursue my PhD, and so this also provided a chance to visit the universities in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. It was an incredible trip.

The entire trip focused on eastern Scotland (Stirling, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dunkeld, and St. Andrews). This left many places I would visit if I could. Iona is one of the top locations. This island is off of the west coast of Scotland. It is historically significant because Columba built his monastery there while in exile from Ireland. The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the gospels from around 800 AD and a significant example of Celtic art, may have been written on Iona.

I do not know why, but an idea has been on my mind lately. I imagine myself staying on Iona for a month and blogging my experience each day. The island is only about 3.4 square miles with very few cars, and so I would need to walk or bike everywhere. I could learn the history of the island, explore the landscape, and learn about the people and businesses. I could visit surrounding islands (such as Skye and Mull) and write about those places and about traveling on the surrounding waters. I would also try to visit Shetland in the far north of Scotland and Loch Lommond on the main island. I loved visiting Edinburgh during my first trip, and so I would need to fit that in somewhere. Exploring the Royal Mile was one of my favorite parts of that trip.

It would be nice to visit major biblical sites in Israel – Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives, the Jordan River, Bethlehem, Galilee. All of those would be great destinations, and each one would provide opportunities to learn so much more about history. When I went to Kenya in the summer of 1997 I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Israel on the way home, but I did not have the funds for that part of the trip. Instead, I stayed a night in the Zurich, Switzerland airport with several other people from my group. We slept on benches and then flew home the next morning.

I also want to travel the Mediterranean and visit key sites of Greek and Roman history and mythology. Greek mythology has long been interesting to me, maybe because of the adventure and fantasy aspects. They are stories of monsters, heroes, and magic. I would have some nerdy fun visiting the sites attributed to key mythological events.

Greek and Roman history are also interesting, partially because of their relevance to biblical history. There are so many places I could visit that would provide enhanced perspectives on history. Athens is a must. Walking the streets and eating the food would be an incredible experience. The same is true of visiting Rome, and of course I would need to spend some time at the Coliseum.

I do not know why, and it might sound weird, but I have sometimes thought it would be fun to see Antarctica. Maybe because so few people see it. I would not enjoy the cold, however, and there is not much to see there, and so I will probably pass on this one. Still, I would enjoy telling people about my time there. How many people get to do that?

I could go on. There are other places I want to visit, both in the United States and around the world. The places listed here are some of the ones that catch my imagination the most. The Antarctica idea is probably unrealistic, but the others are possible with the necessary finances. Where would you visit if you could? What would you do there? Please leave comments telling where you would go.

 

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Theological Themes in “The Black Hole (1979)”

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I am finally returning to my movie reviews focusing on theological and philosophical themes. I had planned months ago to return to writing them, but they fell to the side as I wrote other posts. All that time these continued to nag me. This is an interesting topic for me which I love to ponder and discuss with people. I knew I needed to continue these posts. They take a long time to write, however, and so they may be slow in coming.

I loved The Black Hole when I was a child. I even had some of the action figures. It is not a high-caliber science fiction movie like the original Star Wars trilogy, but I think it may still be under appreciated today.

Plot Summary
The opening credits show a graphical representation of how space and gravity are viewed according to the General Theory of Relativity. Space is a fabric, and gravity is an indention in that fabric. The black hole appears as an incredibly deep indention in that fabric.

The story begins with the robot VINCENT onboard the USS Palomino announcing a course correction because of a black hole. He displays an image of it on the holographic projector.

The rest of the crew comes to the bridge. Captain Dan Holland says it is the most destructive force in the universe. Kate McCrae says a professor predicted that black holes would devour the universe.

VINCENT then detects a ship near the black hole and notes that it has not moved since he detected it. They search the ship database and identify it as the USS Cygnus, the same ship on which McCrae’s father served. When their mission to find habitable life was declared a failure, the Cygnus was recalled. The captain Hans Reinhardt ignored the recall, and the ship was never seen again. Journalist Harry Booth says that Reinhardt considered himself a legend and refused to admit failure

The crew wonders how the Cygnus, which they believe to be uninhabited, resists the black hole’s gravity. They decide to investigate. As they approach, they feel gravitational turbulence from the black hole, but when they are near the ship the gravitational turbulence ceases. All lights on the Cygnus are off as the Palomino passes it.

After they pass the Cygnus, the Palomino is caught in the black hole’s gravity and is pulled toward it. VINCENT goes outside to fix a blown hatch. While he is outside they lose radio contact and so McCrae contacts him with her ESP. His tether breaks, but he is able to avoid being pulled into the black hole. Their life support system is damaged, and so they look for a place to land on the Cygnus. Lights all over the Cygnus then turn on. McCrae believes she sees people onboard. When they land they have normal gravity.

Pizer remains on the Palomino while the rest of the crew explores the Cygnus. When they first board the ship their weapons are destroyed by lasers. They eventually find their way to the bridge where they meet Reinhardt and his aggressive robot Maximilian. They bridge also appears to be run by robed robots. Reinhardt informs McCrae that her father is dead, and that his death was a great loss. He informs the Palomino crew that the Cygnus was disabled by meteorites. He told the crew to abandon ship and return home while he remained onboard with McCrae’s father. He created the robed robots as companions. Sentry robots then escort Pizer to the bridge.

Reinhardt explains that he developed anti-gravity to keep his ship in position so that it is not pulled into the black hole. Maximilian then escorts Holland, Pizer, and VINCENT to get supplies to repair the Palomino. While they are gone, the rest of the crew continues questioning Reinhardt. He compares his mission with that of Christopher Columbus. He then shows them his power generator which is sufficient to power all of Earth.

Booth leaves the group to investigate the ship on his own. He finds a robed robot maintaining a large arboretum. When it leaves the room it limps. On his way back to the Palomino, Holland witnesses some robed robots performing what appears to be a funeral for one of their own kind. He then informs Pizer who speculates that some of the crew may still be alive. They conclude that the sooner they leave the better.

Back on the bridge, Reinhardt suggests that the black hole may lead somewhere rather than nowhere. Doctor Alex Durant expresses admiration for Reinhardt’s accomplishments and desires to remain for a while. Reinhardt suggests discussing it over dinner.

While the crew is on its way to dinner with Reinhardt, VINCENT joins some sentry robots in their target practice room. He challenges the lead sentry robot STAR to a match. He defeats STAR and causes one blast to hit his chest. STAR then shorts out from rage. BOB tells VINCENT to meet him in parts storage.

At dinner Reinhardt requests no more unescorted travel on the Cygnus. When Booth mentions that the Cygnus was once reported to have an arboretum large enough to feed the entire crew, Reinhardt comments it is now only large enough to provide food for himself.

Reinhardt then explains that he plans to travel into the black hole – “in, through, and beyond” (0:45:07). When Booth says that is crazy and impossible, Reinhardt says “The word ‘impossible’. Mr. Booth, is only found in a dictionary of fools ” (0:45:25). He assures the Palomino crew that the course he has chosen, and his anti-gravity technology, will allow him to safely navigate the black hole. He believes the journey will allow him to discover “the ultimate knowledge” (0:49:37). Maximilian tells Reinhardt that the probe ship is about to dock, and so Reinhardt leaves the dining room.

BOB then meets secretly with VINCENT. He rearms VINCENT’s lasers and tells him the Palomino crew is in danger. He shows VINCENT the hospital and tells him the robed robots are what remain of the Cygnus crew – physically human but now more like robots. Sentry robots discover them, and VINCENT is forced to destroy the sentries.

While VINCENT and BOB are talking, the Palomino crew in the dining room discusses whether or not Reinhardt is insane. They also discuss strange behaviors in the robed robots and question what truly happened to the Cygnus crew. Booth says the robots feel like people. Holland says they should leave, but Booth wants to take the Cygnus home. VINCENT then contacts McCrae telepathically and asks to meet Holland on the Palomino.

Holland, Pizer, and Booth go to the Palomino while McCrae and Durant continue talking. Durant expresses admiration for Reinhardt’s possible discoveries in the black hole and says he wants to go on the voyage. Reinhardt then enters the room. He gives Durant his mathematical formulas and asks him to monitor the flight into the black hole.

BOB tells Holland that the Cygnus crew mutinied when Reinhardt ignored his recall. Reinhardt killed McCrae’s father, and the remaining crewmen were turned into the robed robots – humans with no will. VINCENT tells Holland that he was forced to destroy two sentries. He recalls McCrae and Durant to the Palomino through his link with McCrae. Durant wants to remain onboard. McCrae urges him to leave. Booth, fearful of what happened to the Cygnus crew, urges the captain to launch the Palomino and leave.

VINCENT then telepathically tells McCrae about the Cygnus crew. She tells Durant. He removes a robot’s mask and sees the human face underneath. When they try to run away, Maximilian kills Durant, and Reinhardt tells sentry robots to take McCrae to the hospital. He tells the Palomino crew that Durant and McCrae chose to remain onboard, but VINCENT informs them of what happened to them. Holland and VINCENT, guided by BOB, rush out of the ship to rescue McCrae as the Cygnus moves closer to the black hole. Sentries discover their destroyed counterparts and inform Reinhardt who tells Maximilian to “liquidate” the Palomino crew.

Holland, VINCENT, and BOB destroy the sentries in the hospital and rescue McCrae who was beginning the process to become another robed robot. They fight their way back to the Palomino. When they cannot reach it Holland tells Pizer to take off without them. Pizer leaves the ship to help them while Booth fakes an injury so that he can remain. When they reach the Palomino, Booth is launching it. Reinhardt orders Maximilian to shoot it after which it crashes into the Cygnus.

The remaining Palomino crew then runs toward Reinhardt’s probe ship. While they are en route, a meteor shower being pulled in by the black hole batters the Cygnus. The crew fights sentries as they flee through the arboretum. The Cygnus suffers serious damage from the meteors. Reinhardt sends Maximilian to prepare the probe ship and is then pinned under a fallen view screen.

When the crew is near the probe Maximilian shoots BOB. VINCENT defeats Maximilian, and BOB shuts down. As they board the probe, the Cygnus is breaking apart. After they launch, they realize that its computer has been programmed to take them into the black hole.

What follows is a series of disjointed images and voices as the probe flies through a tunnel in space. Reinhardt, who is floating outside of the Cygnus, merges with Maximilian and stands on a rock peak in what appears to be Hell with the robed robots below. A robed man (not one of the robots) flies through a crystalline hallway. The probe exits the black hole, presumably on the other end of the tunnel, and flies toward a light that looks like a sun emerging from behind a moon.

Theological Themes

The Black Hole makes numerous references to Christian theology. When VINCENT first displays the black hole on the holographic projector, Harry Booth says, “Right out of Dante’s Inferno!” (0:03:50), referencing Dante Alighieri’s classic representation of Hell in his Divine Comedy. Pizer responds that whenever he sees a black hole he expects “to spot some guy in red with horns and a pitchfork” (0:04:16) by which he means Satan, building on Booth’s reference to Hell.

Later when the Palomino crew is on the bridge of the Cygnus they arrange to make repairs to the Palomino. When VINCENT attempts to enter the elevator to get the necessary parts, the much larger and more menacing Maximilian blocks his path. Neither one back down. When Reinhardt sees the standoff, he says, “Now what does that remind me of? Oh yes, David and Goliath. A classic confrontation. Only this time David is over-matched” (0:29:38). In 1 Samuel 17, David defeats the giant Goliath with a stone thrown from his sling, thereby demoralizing the Philistine army and emboldening the Israelite army. Reinhardt’s biblical reference proves to be more appropriate than he realizes at the time because, like David, VINCENT later defeats Maximilian in their final confrontation.

While Holland, Pizer, and Booth meet VINCENT and BOB on the Palomino, Durant and McCrae discuss Reinhardt’s plan. McCrae asks Durant if he wants to accompany Reinhardt, to which he responds, “On a glorious pilgrimage straight into what may be the mind of God?  Yes, I do” (00:55:00). Reinhardt, who had quietly entered the room, quotes Gen. 1:2 (KJV): “and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (00:55:08).

Reinhardt then gives a record of his formulas to Durant and says he is “ready to embark on man’s greatest journey” (00:56:38). McCrae says it could be man’s riskiest journey. Reinhardt responds, “The risk is incidental compared to the possibility to possess the great truth of the unknown” (00:56:44). He explains that “long-cherished laws of nature” do not apply there. Durant asks about life, wondering if it ceases inside the black hole as well.  Reinhardt simply says, “Life? Life forever” (00:57:06).

The theological content up to this point is clearly grounded in  the commonly understood aspects of the Christian theological tradition. Most of the closing sequence, however, is more difficult to understand. When the remaining Palomino crew launches the probe ship in an attempt to escape the black hole, they realize that the probe has been programmed to fly into the black hole. McCrae says, “Let’s pray for the genius” (1:28:52), another reference to Christian theology. What follows, however, is far less clear.

The closing sequence (beginning at 1:30:38) is a mix of swirling images and sounds with no clear explanation. Matte Effects Supervisor Harrison Ellenshaw says in “Through the Black Hole” (12:05), in the special features on the 2004 DVD of The Black Hole, that no end for the film had been written when it entered production. In answer to what is on the other end of a black hole, Ellenshaw suggested that the camera pull back and show McCrae looking up at God almost touching Adam in Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel.. This idea was scraped. The idea which was placed in the movie came late in production. The team thought it should be ethereal and show a struggle between good and evil with miniatures and fire. Ellenshaw is not sure what the end means, but he thinks it looks good.

The last time the merged Reinhardt and Maximilian appear they are standing on a rocky terrain with fire in what appears to be Hell. Considering the references to hell and Satan at the beginning of the movie, that is a reasonable assumption. One could ask, however, why the robed robot crew are also in hell.

This also leaves the question of where the Palomino crew goes. The robed man flying down the crystal hallway could be a reference to Heaven. The probe exits the black hole and flies toward a light. Placing them in Heaven would provide an appropriate contrast to Reinhardt/Maximilian’s fate in hell.

It does seem likely that the closing sequence portrays images of Heaven and Hell, and closing references to Heaven and Hell would fit well to the opening reference to Dante’s Inferno. Nonetheless, this interpretation is uncertain. If the rest of the production crew, like Ellenshaw, did not understand it, then one could question whether or not they intended to portray Heaven and Hell. Maybe they left the ending intentionally vague to provide a sense of mystery. Maybe they wanted both – vague references to Heaven and Hell and a sense of mystery.

How do you interpret the ending of this movie? Feel free to leave comments. This could be a fun conversation.

 

 

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Remembering My Notebook

Over a week ago I took my car to a mechanic to have my wheels aligned. To pass the time while waiting for my car I walked to a nearby McDonald’s for some lunch and to proofread some upcoming posts. I brought what I call my writing satchel. It contains pens, pencils, my tablet, a power pack, and some items for reading. When it was almost time to go back to the shop for my car I thought about my writer’s notebook. It was in my satchel. I remembered what I considered at the children’s program at church: keep the notebook close at hand. When I left I took out the notebook and put it in my back pocket rather than stored away.

Sometimes I have not brought it to work because I planned to use my break time to read. I have changed that practice because I never know when inspiration will hit. Some days I may have planned to read, but if a great idea hits me, then I want to be ready to take notes instead.

While walking back to the mechanic shop I reminded myself of how I need to keep my eyes open more widely and watch the world. I am an introverted person and a thinker, and so sometimes I am more focused on my own thoughts than on what is happening around me. I recently mentioned that I re-read one of my childhood favorites Dear Mr. Henshaw. Early in the story Leigh asks his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw, for advice on writing. Henshaw tells him to “read, look, listen, think, and write.” I cannot look and listen if I am always in my own world. Carrying the notebook with me at all times can serve as a reminder to continue watching and continue thinking about what I can write

When I arrived at the mechanic shop he told me he does not take cards, and so I drove to an ATM to get cash. Yes, he let me take my car before I paid. The line at the drive thru ATM was severely backed up, and so I used that time to write notes for this post. This time the notebook was next to me on the passenger seat, not stored away. I will remember this day as a lesson on the writing life.

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Now Entering 2018

Today had been a lazy day. I had the day off because the warehouse was closed, and so I slept in this morning. I spent some time relaxing during and after breakfast, and then I edited some blog posts. I am finally returning to my movie review posts. The first draft of the next review is mostly written now. I hope to post it on Friday.

After I ate lunch I drove into town. I needed to get out of the house for a while, and I also needed to buy a turkey for a family gathering later this week. Last year I cooked a turkey which I had received free at work. My nephews loved it, and so my brother-in-law asked me to cook it that way again.

I also packed and stored my Christmas tree, ornaments, and Dickens Village. I knew I could not pack the tree exactly like the manufacturers did, and so one might think fitting it back into the original box would be like re-folding an old style road map. Those things never folded quite right, but I did manage to fit the disassembled tree in its box. Call it a New Year’s miracle if you want.

What will I do this year? First, I will continue trying to post at least twice a week. My weekly posts are currently on Tuesdays and Fridays at 7:00 Eastern time. This will be a challenge, but I will nonetheless strive to keep this pace going. Upcoming posts will include more movie reviews focusing on theological and philosophical themes, more book reviews of childhood favorites, thoughts on technological trends, and of course many posts I have not chosen yet.

Second, I plan to read more. For the past few years I have not read as much as I did several years ago. I want to change that. I updated my Goodreads account (now displayed on the sidebar) with a preliminary list which is still open to changes. I have set a goal for at least 10 books in the coming year, one of which I have already started. This is almost one per month, giving me a little buffer for unexpected circumstances. I will try to increase it next year, but this looks like a good goal when trying to get back into the habit.

Well, time to get up, from my computer, cook some dinner, and do some reading (remember, I have that reading goal). Maybe Arwen will join me on the recliner. It is cold outside, and so she has spent most of the day inside.

Please leave a comment on what you plan to do this year.

 

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