As a woman writer and a feminist I know I should have read this book long ago. I have read one other novel by Virginia Woolf —Orlando. Her writing sty...moreAs a woman writer and a feminist I know I should have read this book long ago. I have read one other novel by Virginia Woolf — Orlando. Her writing style is certainly a throwback to another era — with long, rich sentences and paragraphs that go on for pages. Still, she injects such keen insight and humor into her writing that I had to keep reading. A Room of One's Own clearly outlines the societal limitations heaped on women writers and women in the creative arts. Given how oppressed and financially stifled women were, it is a major achievement that the works of Jane Austen or the Brontes reached publication and survived these many centuries. While Woolf does not love Austen's work, she describes here all the subterfuge and effort Jane had to go through to even steal minutes of writing time from the embroidery and other womanly crafts she was expected to do.
I especially loved the chapter on the trip to the library and a review of novels and books written by lesser-known women. Woolf picks up and starts to review a novel by a Mary Carmicheal. There is nothing extraordinary about this work until the author inserts one specific line while describing a female friendship. "They liked each other." Now, things get interesting, Woolf writes.
There were so many other wonderful bits and observations. I will list her a few that stood out for me:
“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery, and the sacrifice of wealth and chastity which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.
Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.
Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
Pema Chödrön wasn't always Pema Chödrön. She embraced Buddhism and her Buddhist name after living as a married woman and school teacher. When her husb...morePema Chödrön wasn't always Pema Chödrön. She embraced Buddhism and her Buddhist name after living as a married woman and school teacher. When her husband announced he wanted a divorce, she flew into rage and grief. But that led to a search for a better way to live. She is now an honored author, Buddhist nun, and teacher.
This short, small book about practicing peace is based on her human experience, and the reactions and human traits we all share.
Many points of wisdom here. I list here just a few.
War is never going to end as long as our hearts are hardened against each other.
Clobbering people with your peace sign? The next time you get angry, check out your righteous indignation, check out your fundamentalism that supports your hatred of this person...
Whenever there's that sting of pain, I practice pausing, because I know that that moment is precious.
There is a practice we can do right then to help us stay present and awake. It is called compassionate abiding. Compassionate abiding provides a way to no longer invest in reactions with so much absolute truth.(less)
This book follows the same format as The Hours. Michael Cunningham tells three different stories, but weaves in similar features and themes. In this b...moreThis book follows the same format as The Hours. Michael Cunningham tells three different stories, but weaves in similar features and themes. In this book the poetry of Walt Whitman is quoted and referenced by characters that span several centuries. I was not as moved by this novel as I was by The Hours, but I am always impressed by the author's exquisite word choices and story-telling skill. I will be reading more by Michael Cunningham.(less)
My dad found this at a tag sale years ago and gave it to me. He knew I loved vintage postcards and was always on the lookout for ephemrera for me. I j...moreMy dad found this at a tag sale years ago and gave it to me. He knew I loved vintage postcards and was always on the lookout for ephemrera for me. I just love rare finds like this and the old pics of famous places like Roton Point and SoNo.(less)
Great images of my hometown. Most recently I lived on Crescent Street in Glenbrook. There were once wonderful old Victorian houses shaded by a tree-li...moreGreat images of my hometown. Most recently I lived on Crescent Street in Glenbrook. There were once wonderful old Victorian houses shaded by a tree-lined street. Who knew? (less)
Bart Yates gives us superb writing in The Brothers Bishop. Two gay brothers survive abusive childhoods in a small Connecticut town and then deal with...moreBart Yates gives us superb writing in The Brothers Bishop. Two gay brothers survive abusive childhoods in a small Connecticut town and then deal with the fallout as adults. All major themes are covered here: incest, suicide, grief, lust, love, and coming out. Still, there are wry observations and funny one-liners. Yates travels back in time to tell parts of the story, yet his narrative is always clear. The characters are well drawn. Given the gravity of subject matter, it would seem this would be a ponderous read. Not at all. It was hard to put this book down.
I highlighted many passages. Here are a few:
Instinct took over, and sometimes instinct isn't about survival. Sometimes it's only about stopping the pain, however you have to do it.
Dad was a fun house mirror. Whenever we looked at him, we saw nothing but the most grotesque aspects of ourselves.
Love attacks. It sneaks up like a pride of lions or a pack of hyenas and eats your heart out while you watch. Love is the bully on the playground who takes your lunch money and gives you a black eye in return, the arsonist who burns your house down with you in it , the witch who lures you into her home with candy and boils you alive for dinner. Love is raw, and violent, and instantaneous. You don’t fall in love; you get trampled by it.(less)
I was assigned this book to read in the last month of a four-year seminary study. After all that focus on my particular Christian denomination and the...moreI was assigned this book to read in the last month of a four-year seminary study. After all that focus on my particular Christian denomination and the Old and New Testaments, it was important to get back to a broader vision. This is a compendium of first-person faith stories that stress the intersection of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. I have some favorites. I particularly loved the Jewish chaplain called to the room of a dying Baptist who sincerely sits in prayer with a family while staying true to his faith. I also loved the two fathers — one Christian, one Jewish — who form a friendship spanning many years based on an annual conference they attend to help their children with special needs. In many cases, the writers' are seekers who trod many different paths and come back to their roots. One Muslim young man is drawn to Catholic Houses and the work of Dorothy Day. When he asks about the roles of the residents and staffers at his volunteer job he is told that this is not a productive way of looking at the people around him. Instead of asking something like, “Why are you here?," he is urged, instead, to ask, "What is your story?" Later in life he learned that his Muslim grandmother had been offering charity and shelter to Muslim women in danger for more than 40 years. He had a Dorothy Day-like matriarch in his family and didn't see the connection until he experienced faith from a different perspective. Another author posits why so many recovering alcoholics and drug addicts embrace Jesus. "In Jesus they literally find someone who came back from the dead, who was reborn."(less)
Abraham Joshua Heschel was a Polish-born man who lost family members in the Holocoust. He became a scholar and a rabbi. He famously marched for civil...moreAbraham Joshua Heschel was a Polish-born man who lost family members in the Holocoust. He became a scholar and a rabbi. He famously marched for civil rights with Martin Luther King, Jr. The Sabbath is only one of his respected books on Jewish teachings. This is a thin volume — and an easy read — filled with perspective on why a Sabbath, whether a religious observance, or a state of soul, is important to our lives.
I have some passages that stood out for me:
One of the most distinguished words in the Bible is the word qadosh, holy; a word which more than any other is representative of the mystery and majesty of the divine.
All our life should be a pilgrimage to the seventh day.
The faith of the Jew is not a way out of this world , but a way of being within and above this world; not to reject but to surpass civilization.
This was another assignment for my seminary studies. Loved this book. L. William Countryman is a gay, Episcopal priest with a wonderful message about...moreThis was another assignment for my seminary studies. Loved this book. L. William Countryman is a gay, Episcopal priest with a wonderful message about ministry. We all have a fundamental ministry. Others, in addition, pursue a sacramental ministry. Our mission is to question what our ministry is and how we are to fulfill it. Along the way, the author explores the ministry of Jesus, his teachings, the ministry of ordained clergy, and the laity.
There were several sections and commentary that stood out for me.
On ministry and priesthood: All human beings, knowingly or not, minister as priests to one another...The priesthood belongs to everyone.
The gospel was not spoken (and cannot be spoken) in a timeless or abstract way. It is always spoken to specific people, who hear it with human ears and human minds.
Heaven is an epektasis—not an arriving at God—but a continual process of stretching and being stretched out toward God.
When we encounter the HOLY, we are encountering what is essential to us, even if it seems beyond us.
The word of GOD, in Christian religion, remains subversive.
Whenever someone is living attentively in the borderlands where we meet the HOLY and is ministering and being ministered to there, that person is a priest.
On Jesus' ministry:
According to the law of Moses, Jesus was not a priest at all in the sacramental sense. He belonged to the tribe of Judah, not Levi, and to the family of David, not Aaron. As such, he had no more access to the inner part of the Temple or knowledge of its rites or authority to preside over them than any other male lay Israelite. He was not, in other words, one of those reckoned particularly close to the sacred.
He welcomed women among his close followers, despite the fact that, according to the Torah, they were especially prone to impurity. He associated with "tax collectors and sinners" and even ate with them, no doubt at great risk to his own purity.
He taught that one can encounter GOD in the midst of the profane life of the world without benefit of clergy.
Jesus retreated for periods of rest and prayer, and Paul stressed that a religion fascinated and dominated by works will turn out to be a religion obsessed with what we do, rather than holding itself open to GOD.
Jesus' life was anything but timid...He was not afraid of taking risks.
The point is not that we should remember Jesus as someone from the distant past, but that the rite reminds us who we are in Christ here and now.(less)
This was another seminary class assignment. The title made me groan. I was expecting some dictatorial, rigid outline of how to be a "good" Christian....moreThis was another seminary class assignment. The title made me groan. I was expecting some dictatorial, rigid outline of how to be a "good" Christian. I was relieved to find a thoughtful and wide-ranging study on the nature of Jesus, his ministry, and his legacy for us. The author covers all aspects of life: vocation, avocation, sexuality, marriage, worship, and outreach. I enjoyed most the section on hospitality and its role in the Christian ministry.(less)
Rarely do I finish a book and flip right back to the first page and begin again. I did that with The Secret Life of Bees. The writing is wonderful. At...moreRarely do I finish a book and flip right back to the first page and begin again. I did that with The Secret Life of Bees. The writing is wonderful. At one point I felt as if the prose was washing over me like a cleansing rain. I know there are critics who have questioned whether we needed one more novel about a southern girl coming of age. Who cares? This story is so unique and empowering—it is a wonderful read. Bees is the first of Sue Monk Kidd's novels that I have read. I have since added all her books to my reading list. This is the story of women, empowerment, the spirituality of bee keeping, the yearning for mother love, and the strong force of women helping each other.
Here were some of my favorite quotes:
Looking back on it now, I want to say that these were sent to me. I want to say they showed up like the angel Gabriel, to the Virgin Mary, setting events in motion I could never have guessed.
People, in general, would rather die than forgive. It's that hard. If God said in plain language, "I'm giving you a choice, forgive or die," a lot of people would go ahead and order their coffin.
Drifting off to sleep, I thought about her. How nobody is perfect. How you just have to close your eyes and breathe out and let the puzzle of the human heart be what it is.
You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside.
In the photograph by my bed my mother is perpetually smiling on me. I guess I have to forgive us both, although sometimes in the night my dreams will take me back to the sadness, and I have to wake up and forgive us again.(less)