Harrington’s Commonplaces

Some wise sayings from a teacher I once had at Act One:

“What gets us over our terror? …Love for someone else.”
(14 January 2019)

“There is no joy without commitment, but commitment implies renunciation of other things.” (15 January 2019)

“There’s no growth without tension.” (15 January 2019)

“One sign of growth is that you always have new problems.” (17 January 2019)

“At what point does your character become your fate?” (22 January 2019)

“The reactive person is not in control.” (22 January 2019)

“Some fights are worth losing.” (29 January 2019)

“The gods that we worship determine the values we hold.” (31 January 2019)

“A lie in the brain is getting a fact wrong; a lie in the soul is getting a life wrong.” (31 January 2019)

“A truly educated person is one who pauses.” (4 February 2019)

“You have to be willing to be wrong to be wrong
.” (4 February 2019)

“The mark of a grownup is flexibility.” (5 February 2019)

“The first sign of God’s will for us is the gifts He’s given us.” (5 February 2019)

“Safety isn’t part of the Christian dispensation. Martyrdom is.” (7 February 2019)

 
Continue reading

Advertisements

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d comment on the curious weather we had on Saturday. We got snow, considerable snow, Saturday afternoon and evening. It kept coming down and that night it was sticking. I guess we had over 3 inches–and it’s almost May. I wasn’t so put out since it didn’t make driving worse for me. I stayed in, turned on the fire and enjoyed Trading Spaces.

I’d mention that I attended a playwriters’ group at the Skokie Public Library. We gather to read out 10 pages of each others’ work. It’s good to hear a play read out loud and the group is very convivial and helpful.

I’d recommend the book How to Get Rich in Rising Asia, for its unique structure and point of view. Also, I think it really captures life in Southeast Asia.

1280px-Flickr_-_…trialsanderrors_-_Hokusai,_Under_the_great_wave_off_Kanagawa,_ca._1832

I’d tell you that Friday I returned to yoga at my library. I hadn’t been in months. I usually work at noon on Fridays and it’s just a bit tight to get from my library to work. I probably make more of the time issue than I need to. Another excuse is the winter weather. I felt great after going and realize I need to make this happen.

Then I went down to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the exhibit of Hokusai’s famous wave and other prime ukiyo-e (i.e. woodblock) prints. This exhibit focuses on how each print can differ though it’s made from the same block. Sometimes later printmakers added features; sometimes the coloring differed; sometimes sunlight faded a print. I was surprised that the great wave print was smaller than I imagined, but when you think about it the printing press equipment was probably a factor. Also these prints were made so that middle class people could afford them. Thus they’re probably the right size for a home.

I’d mention that I’m enjoying watching Flambards, one of my first favorite British TV imports. Set in as George V is taking the throne in 1910, Flambards focuses on a teenage orphan Christina who’s sent to live with her grouchy, tempestuous uncle and her sparring cousins. Trust me it’s a delight.

This week I want to market my play Dora McDonald: On Trial and start a new writing project.

The Great Good Thing

klavanAndrew Klavan’s memoir, The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ is a great read. Klavan goes back to his youth growing up in the suburbs of Long Island with a mom who was atheist and a father who was culturally, but not religiously Jewish. He chronicles his rocky relationship with his father and his love of writing and reading stories. It’s easy to see that Klavan was a storyteller from his earliest days. What’s more it’s shown in the writing. The Great Good Thing is masterfully written. Now an accomplished novelist and screenwriter, Klavan knows how to make every word and every metaphor count. He’s a delight to read.

This memoir isn’t preachy or saccharine. Instead, Klavan shares how he slowly came to be baptizes after dealing with the demons and mistakes of his early life. He doesn’t portray himself as a saint. He isn’t proud of his rebellion at school. He doesn’t sugarcoat his struggles with depression or anger. He trenchantly describes how anti-semitism plagued him and for years was a barrier to Christianity for him.  Instead he gives us a smart, open look at one very intelligent guy’s slow turning to faith. While doing so he offers a road map to deeper understanding of theology and scripture.

Because Klavan’s writing so good, so intelligent, I’ve ordered one of his novels to read next. (By “next” I mean after I’ve finished the eight books I’ve already started.)

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I finished revising my play. Now I’ve got to market it more. I did send an email to a theater in Chicago where I have submitted the summary and other requested information last July. They say they need 6 months to consider whether they want to read the whole thing and I just wanted to cordially remind them in a that it’s been over 6 months. I also want to send this revised version to the theater that already asked for the full play. This version has fewer characters which makes a play more cost effective.

I volunteered as an Election Judge for last Tuesday’s Consolidated Election, i.e. the election for local jobs like village trustee. We had to help with the Monday evening set up, finish the set up on Tuesday at 5 a.m., manage the polling place and shut down. I was up at 3:45 a.m. and got home after 9. The team was great, very cooperative and friendly so that during our many lulls we could chat easily. We only had 53 voters all day (from 6 a.to 7 p.m.). There were just 19 early voters in our precinct of 703 registered voters. What a pity.

That long, long Tuesday threw my week off. Wednesday I slept late and had little energy. Still it’s a bit of extra money and it’s rewarding to help. The county has a hard time finding people to work the election.

One of my co-election judges works at a big garden center. I was interested to learn that they sell a special soil for marijuana. In Illinois, they’re considering legalizing pot, but now it’s just legal for medical usage. So it’s funny that this garden store, which caters to consumers sells this special soil.

My aunt had knee replacement surgery on Monday and I did visit her on Wednesday just before she was released. She was heading home, which is tough with the stairs at her house. A lot of people go to a rehab center for a few weeks. She’ll have in home therapy and nursing. I hope the therapy comes daily.

I’ve started watching the film Blow Up, but the main character’s so blasé and jaded that it’s hard to stay interested.

How was your week? Share highlights or links to your blog post below.

 

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I have gotten about 40% of the editing done on my play and I sent an email to the theater that I submitted the summary to in July. You’re supposed to hear if they want to read more within 6 months and there’s been no word. I should also see if there’s a contest for plays coming up.

I had coffee with a friend who just returned from visiting her sister in Arizona for 5 weeks. Her plan was t substitute teach there for a month. It was good to be with her sister, but the subbing was mostly one day gigs and she much prefers longer term assignments. We caught up on family and friends’ activities.

This Jussie Smollett situation really blew me away. I can’t believe the case was dropped and as a long time Chicago area native and Chicago history buff, I’ll say that there’s something fishy afoot and I hope that comes out. Kim Foxx has little courtroom experience and yet is managing those that do. She’s never tried a felony case, but got to be in charge of that system. It’s all connections. Now I regret agreeing to go take care of someone’s dog at noon, because I’d like to have gone down to the protest against these shenanigans. I’m not saying Smollett should go to jail, but he should either plead guilty or have presented his side while the State presents theirs and a judge or jury decides. What we have here is special, secretive treatment.

We’re in a cold snap. A lot of people are tired of winter. I’m not exactly. A couple years ago I realized that contrary to what I was told in kindergarten in these parts the seasons aren’t divided into quarters. Our spring is rather short. It sure doesn’t start in March, and often it doesn’t warm up till mid-April. So I don’t start wearing my spring jacket till the temperature’s get to the 60°s. I know I’ll get sick if I start going out underdressed. I’d rather peel off some layers than be too cold.

I started planning for next month’s book displays. A colleague invited me to help out with them. So I’ve picked a couple themes and am checking on which books fit the theme. My first idea was Microhistories, i.e. the history of just one thing, and I found we own a lot. We’ve got micro histories on salt, the number zero, color, bananas, Genghis Khan and many more. Now I’m searching for titles of books and films about rivalry. I’ve gotten (pairs of) books on Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox, Matisse and Picasso, the film Amadeus. I’m looking for more rivals. Can you think of any? Fiction or non-fiction works.

I found Lucky Partners entertaining and fun. I saw Unplanned and that was hard to take. It’s not a pretty subject and it was a true story, but I didn’t need so much blood to get the point. I’m half way through Harold Lloyd’s talkie Cat’s Paw and while parts are outdated, it’s a delight.

How was your week? Can you think of any rivalries?

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that one minute ago I finished my latest draft on my play. I’ll need to print it out and look for typos, but I’m essentially done and will soon start another project.

Saturday I attended a lecture at my library on the Charms of Chicago or some such thing. It was a disappointment. The speaker just listed a bunch of well known facts you could find on a Wikipedia page. No depth or new information at all. I was tempted to leave, but I would have had to crawl over people on either side of me.

I finished a good book that I strongly recommend, The Old Wives’ Tale. It’s by Arnold Bennett, a Victorian novelist and essayist. I never heard of him, but a friend suggested we read the book and discuss it online. I’m so glad I said yes to the idea.

I loved the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I’m still thinking of the power of Frank Rogers’ kindness. The film deserved at least an Oscar nomination. I’m not sure why it was overlooked.

I’m delighted that the Mueller investigation is done. It’s time to move on.

Spring is on the horizon. People are still complaining about how cold it is and it’s just in the 40ºs most days, but to me that’s still winter weather. I think part of the reason people are cold is that they’ve started to wear spring coats. It’s too early, folks.