A fascinating glimpse back, a peek really, through the cracked and moldy window of time. As interest...more
From France: The Letters In French and English:
A fascinating glimpse back, a peek really, through the cracked and moldy window of time. As interesting as it truly is, to read these letters penned from their own intriguing and by all accounts, disturbed and disturbing minds—mindsets, whatever their reasons (or justifications) were regarding their actions here or there is not a call I'm making here, as my point is this: these letters are but a peek, less really, into that world. And while I was ever aware of their import while I was reading them, muchly appreciating the value of the "real thing" over rehashed faction, which can range from frighteningly bad to better than others...
...what this little collection did for me was to illuminate what little is left of the real for us to ruminate on. Yes, of course there are a great many historical documents available to us from the entire reign of the Tudors. The Lancaster's, York's, Seymour's, The Boylen's, Cromwell's, The Castille's. Well, the list goes on and on as do the many volumes regaling their place in history.
But, it IS a different experience reading historical truth for yourself, first-hand. These sweet nothings penned with such lustful intent by a King whose pious marriage is foundering, by a King who has finally found his mojo. And from there, that place of newly discovered lusty mojo, there is no going back from a place such as that. And so the fate of the young Lady Anne is sealed. These letters are a harbinger to her doom. And to be fair, his too.
If you did happen to read this sacred text, that has been around for centuries longer than some acknowledge as even a possible thing, then may I sugge...moreIf you did happen to read this sacred text, that has been around for centuries longer than some acknowledge as even a possible thing, then may I suggest the Rig Vedas. The Rig Veda Awesome reading. Such perfection.
This is a later read from Paulo Coelho, which honestly, after reading three of his earlier works, back to back, I chose this one from the stack, based...moreThis is a later read from Paulo Coelho, which honestly, after reading three of his earlier works, back to back, I chose this one from the stack, based solely on the cover, breaking my decision to read them in perfect order.
This is a different Paulo Coelho from the mystical, wandering about the hills or the deserts in natures beauty, seeking and finally finding a way, the way, to seek and find your own way through the maze of your own spiritual journey.
In "The Winner Stands Alone" Coelho takes a decidedly urban, upscale bent, into the journey. In this one there are celebrities, wannabes, men, lost—souled men, they are nothing but greedy. Greedy for women, being number one, and of course, greedy for money. Isn't it always about the money? The desire for it, that need for more, more, more, that greed will make a person do the most unlikely things, sometimes atrocious things, especially when a person has lost their way in the world. Lost their heart, when everything is meaningless except the next buck, the next award, the next conquest, well, it does make their journey a different one than Santiago's, that's for sure.
In the back of the book is A Conversation With Paulo Coelho. This is a thing I like about all his books, in the back are all these extra treats to read. Here is one thing he had to say about "The Winner Stands Alone."
Interviewer: "The Alchemist" is about following your dreams. "The Winner Stands Alone" is about paying a terrible price for following your dreams. What is the ultimate message you would like this book to deliver and is there a definite moral of the story?
Paulo Coelho: I beg to differ: "The Winner Stands Alone" is not about paying a terrible price for your dreams. On the contrary, it is about the gigantic price we pay for allowing ourselves to chase illusions, instead of our true dreams. I don't think it's a moralistic book—even though I describe it without concessions as a "dream factory"—but I do hope the reader will be able to see it as a warning rather than a manifesto.(less)
The first use of the word Home in Marilynne Robinson's elegant, graceful slip back into the Pulitzer Winning Gilead, cannot fail to bring a gasp of re...moreThe first use of the word Home in Marilynne Robinson's elegant, graceful slip back into the Pulitzer Winning Gilead, cannot fail to bring a gasp of recognition. The tableau thats been painted, that has set its coming into fruition—so vivid is the story and the language; it seems to fall as if wafting from her heart, effortless from her scribers pen.
Home is...Timeless. Enduring. Brilliant as sunspray on water.
It preys on the mind.
Even if we never experienced this kind of home for ourselves, we know "these" kinds of homes from the hand just out of sight in all "those" stories or tales that we've loved, to a favorite quote penned by some wise sage that might adorn our favorite online page. (Giving a part of us away with, "This is me. Who I am. I need these, they say as I mean to say.")
We all know in our knower, whether called from the depths or lived first hand, this kind of home is where the heart is.
As you are drawn in through her prose, her every perspicacious use of the word home hits home in an evocative way; it's as timeless as the water rippling just past the bend, just out of sight...of all the rivers, the many creeks, every stream you've ever been blessed to lay your eyes upon.
The Water Rippling Just Past The Bend: My Bedroom View
The beauty of her landscape is spirit-stirring in it's simple brevity yet, still, all the more profound for it's indulgence; her breathtaking ability to transport us back to Gilead within this very landscape, is nothing short of exquisite.
Transcendence through prose.
Magnificent prose, which harkens back to that earlier time and place where decorum meant more than just the word, it was a value worth self-sacrifice, personal gain or even happiness, thus highly—placed, along with others such as faith, family and home.
The tragic figure of Jack, coming home after a twenty-year absence, could weigh heavily on the heart, if it had on the pen. Though Jack is a tormented soul, and has caused his family much anguish, the disquiet is just under the current that never comes to that full rush of foam; those turbulent sprays flying off a waterfall that have finally come home, from those calmer waters above, that ripple and flow, ever winding their way downstream.
His sister, Glory, home again herself to care for their dying father, finds herself breathlessly awaiting the return of her cherished older brother after so many years of longing and a kind of fear for him but also having had a deep abiding faith that he was alive somewhere in the world, safe and being treated kindly. Glory, a good, godly, innately pious woman, we soon come to learn, has secrets of her own, and she herself has not always been treated with the kindness she bestows. One thing Glory has alongside her faith, is Hope.
This brings to mind, dum spiro, spero "While I breathe, I Hope."
She gets this profound belief in hope from her ailing father, the patriarch of the family, Reverend Robert Boughton. He was always a loving, forgiving father, leant towards, as Presbyterians are wont to do, grace and understanding. He is also an intelligent man, an ecclesiastically fervent man, who derives great joy in arguing the mysteries of perdition, along with predestination and other scripture with his best friend, Gilead's Reverend John Ames.
Although Jack has brought enough shame to the family name, Robert Boughton is a man who loves. With his whole heart. He lives by the Word. Not just words to him, they go to all he is—as a man, a husband, a father. His prayers of a lifetime have been answered when Jack calls, out of the blue, and says he is coming home.
She makes the word, Home, in this sense of the word—
A Sacred one. A COMING HOME .
[image error] "That odd capacity for destitution, as if by nature we ought to have so much more than nature gives us. As if we are shockingly unclothed when we lack the complacencies of ordinary life. In destitution, even of feeling or purpose, a human being is more hauntingly human and vulnerable to kindnesses because there is the sense that things should be otherwise, and then the thought of what is wanting and what alleviation would be, and how the soul could be put at ease, restored. At home. But the soul finds its own home if it ever has a home at all." ~ Marilynne Robinson in Home (less)
My book copy is a 1950 Hardbook. It is the detailed account of father and son team Lowell Thomas Sr. and Jr.'s trek from Siliguri, India to Lhasa, Tib...moreMy book copy is a 1950 Hardbook. It is the detailed account of father and son team Lowell Thomas Sr. and Jr.'s trek from Siliguri, India to Lhasa, Tibet. They traveled by donkeys through mountain passages and crossing flowing rivers, staying overnight and photographing the friendly villagers they met along the way. These stories and pictorial views were fascinating in and of themselves but they were going until they reached their intended destination.
The sixteen year old Dali Lama. The Thirteenth of his line to be pronounced by the Oracle. At sixteen he was to young to rule on his own without the guidance of His Protector. And Lowell and Lowell Thomas had unprecedented access to the young Dali Lama, his family, his Abbots, Protectors and the monks at Drepung Gompa and all the other monasteries.
Beautiful photographs, from every stage in their journey, are placed between every second and third page, highlighting the descriptive passages. A look into a lost world of Tibet, the colorful and spiritual lives of the monks, that resided there for centuries, spinning out their prayer wheels, each hat worn for a display of identity. A culture richly carved out throughout centuries of history. All caught by the Thomas's camera's unprecedented eye.
When they made that journey back through the villages and mountain passages which led them on the path back towards civilization home—once again, they received a presidential welcome. Lowell Thomas Jr. recounts:
"...the President asked me about our journey. So I spread a map before him and pointed out the route we had taken. Mr. Truman studied it for a moment, sighed wistfully and said that he had dreamed of visiting Lhasa, but that he would probably never have the opportunity. The message I turned over to President Truman had been handwritten in Tibetan characters with a bamboo pen on parchment made from the bark of of the Tibetan tree dated the sixteenth day of the seventh month of the Earth Bull year (September 7, 1949)," and read:
"Now that Lowell Thomas Sr., and Lowell Thomas Jr., have been able to visit Tibet they are well acquainted with all facts about this country. Therefore the government of Tibet hopes that from them the President of The United States, the people of America, and those who live in other countries as well, will soon come to know more about Tibet as well. That it is a holy, independent country, a religious country, ruled over by His Holiness, the Dali Lama, who is the True Incarnation of Chenrezi, the Buddha of Mercy. Furthermore, that all Tibetans, including the civilian population as well as the monks, are entirely devoted to religion. We have learned that, unfortunately, throughout this world at the present time, there is an abscence of peace and happiness—this because of troubles between people's, and disturbances and conflicts of many kinds. We, the government of Tibet, are much worried, deeply concerned over the present state of the world in which we all live. And we are eager to have it known that here in Tibet, a land that is especially dedicated to religion, all of our people's, both lay and monk, are earnestly praying that God will grant happiness and everlasting peace to to all humanity."(less)