25 June 2011

Today was a free day after a week’s worth of art-related spirituality. The other friars spent the day in a variety of ways. I walked toward the Pacific Ocean to spend the afternoon walking, seeing and reading. Oh, and burning in the sun. We have sun block to share, but after our field trip yesterday it was misplaced and so I didn’t lotion-up, which would certainly have mitigated what I ultimately encountered, which was a beautiful afternoon and a blazing California Sun. I am very, very red tonight. While I normally burn rather easily, this is a bit painful, even for me.

On the bright side, I did enjoy the several-mile walk to the beach, my time walking around and the reading I was able to do. I’m currently reading one of the more recent books on Thomas Merton to be published (I have two more recent ones to examine as well). This one is titled, Thomas Merton: Contemplative and Political Action (SPCK 2011). I met the author of the book, Mario Aguilar, in England three years ago when we were both giving papers at a Merton conference overseas. He is a professor of theology at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland.

Overall, I would say that the book is pretty good. A fuller review is certainly forthcoming in a more academic setting, but I wanted to share one passage about writers that really struck me today. Early in the second chapter Aguilar writes:

A writer, I would argue, is not only a person who writes frequently but also a person who through writing outlines and expresses his own life to others. Thus, writers are reclusive people because the act of writing is a solitary one, but they are literary extroverts who bring their own feelings and thoughts into the public sphere. Further, writers are writers because they think about the whole world through what they write and they believe, rightly or wrongly, that their writing can affect others and chance and challenge the material world as interpreted by human beings. Writers are born writers and their capabilities, talents and feelings remain dormant until through either reflexive learning or contact with others they start writing, voraciously, consistently, and as a daily way of expressing reality and ultimately their own reality.

I have yet to find someone who expressed so much about writing and writers succinctly. I particularly like the part about writers being born as such, something I had never heard before, although it is something that makes quite a bit of sense.

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