Shambling After

I’ve advertised, supported, linked, and done everything within my blogging power to promote a number of my friends. Just take a look at my blogroll: Acadia Sunrise, Gorgeous Green Mama, Mr. Jay Gatsby. And now that we’re tight, tight Facebook friends, even Ashley F. Miller.

I support these people because I like what they’re doing, what they might do, or just the fact that they’re doing. I wish more people would blog. Back in my dark days of actually being an English major (no, Christopher Maloney, I no longer am one), I came across a lot of fellow writers who really knew what they were doing. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely anyone else will ever read much of what most of them have to say – of what they can say.

But I think the bloggers I’ve listed above have that same quality of knowing what they’re doing. At Acadia Sunrise, there’s the clear intent (and accomplishment) of making a connection between nature and prose. Gorgeous Green Mama has some similarities, but with a distinctive community/family flavor. Mr. Jay Gatsby’s writing is driven, clear, and unambiguous. Ashley F. Miller reminds me a bit of my own style, first with the summarizing then with the analysis. But she is certainly her own blogger, bringing a particular wit I’ve just spent the past 10 minutes trying (and failing) to define.

But I mention that all these people know their way around the English language because I don’t want to offend them when I gush over how insanely…good…Shambling After commands her prose.

It may seem as though I am complaining about the way Cairo is. In reality, all of this is what I like about it. Life is not easy here. Every morning you wake up in 109 degree weather, sweat-soaked and more exhausted than when you closed your eyes, you remember that you’re alive. Every time you turn away a begging child on the streets of Cairo, you remember that you’re alive. Every time you walk away from an epic cat battle on the streets, you remember that you’re alive.

My greatest fear is that I’ll leave Cairo, return to my monotonous life, and forget how unbelievable it feels to feel…

And the thing is, yes, out of context “an epic cat battle” sounds like a joke. But within the structure of considered prose, it means something; that I have a vivid idea of just where this cat battle happened, of the particular cats involved, of the numbed people on the streets, is a good indication that the writing is effective.

Keep reading.

Thought of the day

Perhaps the greatest achievement of Christianity is the uncanny ability to get people to believe some parts of the Bible are metaphorical (e.g., Genesis does not really say the Universe was made in 6 days) while they believe other parts are literally true (e.g., Jesus really did turn water into wine). It’s entirely arbitrary.

But I’m being dishonest. Christianity actually has no methodology. It has no way of determining how one thing is true and another is false. How could it? Theology is the best claim any religion can have, but even then it only works if everyone agrees on some basic premise (e.g., God exists). And even then there’s no way to be sure what to believe; theology is an arrogant form of literary criticism. Anyone who has bothered to make any interpretation of any novel with any amount of symbolism knows that without direct knowledge of what the author meant, it’s all a crap shoot. Some interpretations may be more sophisticated than others, but none can be certain. The Bible, another book written by people (in this case, the few literate members of an otherwise illiterate society), is no different. It contains no methodology, no defined ways of knowing. It can’t inform anyone of anything except by faith.

And that’s not really being informed, is it?