Friday Five – Volume 81

While thinking about this week’s F5 last night and again this morning I decided that whatever I included I wanted to keep it light.

And then I saw a photo this morning from Iraq that will haunt my dreams for a long, very long time. I’m not going to write about it, or even link to it. I want to forget it. But I know I never will.

Now I don’t know what the hell to write about or include here. So let’s just start and see where it goes.

Friday Five-Mere Observations

— 1 —

Last week I thought that this guy and his flaming bagpipes(!) had rendered the ultimate version of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck. And then I saw this from Finland:

— 2 —

I’ll begin this week with a question that I’ve asked myself a million times over the last few weeks (years, actually).

Why should I write?

As is often the case when I think about such things, I find that I’m not the first person to have wondered. (Blast! See? Everything has already been done!) One of my roommates, reading O’Connor’s The Habit of Being, shared a passage with me on Sunday. Miss Flannery is giving advice to a friend on accepting criticism and using her skills as a writer for the right purpose, that is, because she’s been given them. If God gives you talents, use them. Develop them. It doesn’t matter if you have no idea what the dickens it’s all about; it’s your responsibility to use what you’ve been given, even if you never see the result of it. And, of course, in reading O’Connor’s advice, I was reminded of similar advice I had also been given by one of my writer friends when I put the question to him. If you’re in a rush, I’ve already summed up what both letters are about (chin up and get to it). But if you’ve got a few minutes to spare, and you’re one of the thousand and one unoriginal souls who have pondered the same question with varying levels of frustration, they’re a comforting read-through. So, be comforted!

If you’ve ever asked yourself this question I encourage you to read it all.

Bonus: Praying Psalm 23 for Writers

— 3 —

Poetry of Witness.inddI’ve become interested once again in poetry and last night was thumbing through a book at Barnes & Noble called Poetry of Witness: The Tradition in English, 1500-2001. It’s billed as “a groundbreaking anthology containing the work of poets who have witnessed war, imprisonment, torture and slavery” and contains 300 poems.

Ok…so I’m still dealing with that image from Iraq I guess.

Despite that gloomy description it is something that looked very good and I’ve added it to my ever-growing Amazon.com Wish List, where I constantly am storing books I hear about or that catch my eye. They sit on the list for a few months or years before eventually being deleted or (for a few at least) purchased.

This poem was written by Robert Southwell, a Jesuit priest who would be murdered by Queen Elizabeth I when, after having him tortured ten times, he was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in 1595.

*****

The Burning Babe
By Robert Southwell, SJ

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surpris’d I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air appear; 

Who, scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
“Alas!” quoth he, “but newly born, in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I! 

My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls, 

For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.”
With this he vanish’d out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.

— 4 —

Here’s something I had emailed myself to post last spring as the school year was winding down. Since it winds back up in another week or so, here’s my daughter’s BME (Before/Middle/End) illustration from a first grade assignment and accompanying story.

sophie as president

Today I gave a loud speech in front of a huge crowd. I talked about all the laws so that people know what they can’t do. Then I talked to the people about God. Later I ate some cheese pizza in Mexico. It was so hot and sunny so I sat under a tree so that the sun wouldn’t get in my eyes. Then I had some delishous cake for desert. Later I jumped on my bumpy bed. Then I watched the movie Frozen. After an hour I fell asleep.

— 5 —

I’ll close with a quote and a song from a favorite little under-the-radar-movie I’ve watched a time or two on Netflix: The Letter Writer.

There’s a balance in all things. If you give, you will receive. If you give a lot, you’ll be rich. It’s magical! You see, life is like a mirror, if someone steals or is dishonest, they’ll invite people into their lives who also steal and are dishonest. The good thing is you can choose who and what enters your life. Within every human being there is a God given ability that if you find it and nurture it you’ll be able to bless the lives of others.

I really need to work on enforcing a filter on what I allow to enter into my life and mind.

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