Somehow, even in the midst of the craziness of a semester where I’m teaching six (soon to be seven) classes, I find myself reading a lot more. Maybe I’ve just gotten back in sync with books, able to read in snippets for a few minutes every day. Maybe I’m just reading stuff I really love right now . . . but however it’s happening, I’m finding myself more at peace and more enlivened by words than I have been in a while.

For example, each morning I read a chapter, poem, section, etc from several books. Just this morning, I read the second chapter of C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Then I picked up Writers on Writing to read Jonathan Rosen’s essay “A Retreat from the World Can Be a Perilous Journey.” I followed that up with Lia Purpura’s essay “The Lustres” from Agni #65. Then, I snuck in a couple of paragraphs of Waking the Dead by John Eldredge. . . What a great morning.

Here’s what I was struck by as I read these works today.

From Rosen:
“The wonderful thing about writing is that it forces you to confront yourself in a way you don’t usually have to. That is, needless to say, a terrible thing.”
“On earth we learn a new language. But if we manage to keep the trace of an accent from the mysterious place we once inhabited, so much the better for us.”

From Purpura:
“A word is a way to speak about something that really, in truth, no word can touch. A word is, just for a moment, what arriving might be like – before there slips into here. And here goes in earnest search of another elsewhere.

From Eldredge:
“. . . stories are trying to remind us that things are not what they seem. There is a whole lot more going on here than meets the eye.”

I love when themes come through various texts – the question of language’s inability to meet, the idea that there’s something more to life than we can see, that we come from somewhere else . . . . lovely these threads of theme.

And now, I can face the day – a day where I will be helping to give three job interviews for my position – with fuel, like I’ve stoked the fire in my bell, my agni if you will. I can reach back into these words and find solace . . . a little piece of that paradise that we don’t yet see.