The appetite for curiosity is another one I’ve learned about recently. Nothing wrong with a healthy curiosity, waiting to know things. It helps you to enjoy traveling; it helps you just simply to want to travel and there are people that could use a bit of that.
But curious persons need to learn the appetite also needs to be controlled and reined in. If it is simply encouraged there comes a sort of obesity of curiosity, where even what is not wholesome is curiously inquired into, what is not one’s business, and what is better left alone.
Jonathan Edwards remarked somewhere that appetites are good servants and bad masters. Like fire, a good servant and useful in the hearth, the candle, the forge; but a bad master when it is not under our control. Curiosity is an appetite too.
Posted by unknowing on August 31, 2012
Done living in our own apartment for now.
Back where we started when we first got here. That seems a long time ago. Funny thing about moving, it stirs up a lot of memories. You look through old papers, old things, think about what you’re getting rid of, make the decision to keep it or not. And part of what you remember is the feeling when you started up with all the old anticipations, and then memory starts traveling forward through what one has been through in that place.
The computer remembered. I still have the laptop we originally came down with and it hooked up to the wireless here with no problem. Which is an odd feeling: the memories make it seem like a long time ago and the laptop makes it seem like just yesterday.
Posted by unknowing on August 29, 2012
Ah! Back to the shire for me. Not one of the mighty, just a hobbit once more, fiddling with some verse, watercolors and my long-lost accordion.
Now I can say that I have tried it. I have been among the mighty–counseling, preparing for the ministry of the word, administering the sacraments, in the sessions behind closed doors. I have been taught that there is no greater work than that of a man who watches over people’s souls, and I believe it.
I am also relieved it is not for me. As the hour of my doom drew closer, I felt more and more the loss of common things. It is too public a life, a life for those who live for the greater good. I do not live for the greater good. Smaller goods for me.
* * *
Now we’re emptying the apartment. Running out of food, running out of stuff, running out the trash, and running up little stash of bills. Even got some euros here, and probably ought to change them before they lose their value. One realizes how sober and long USA currency is. Euros and pesos both come on smaller and more colorful pieces of paper.
I love dollars. They remind me of the USA, buying books, buying Dr. Pepper, buying the small goods one hates to relinquish. And it is back to the land of the soft for us.
* * *
Speaking of the smaller good, looks like the book on Amazon has sold 16 copies. I should switch over to hard-core marketing the big names use and say: I’m not putting up the sequel until I sell 20, but I doubt I myself can wait that long. I hope to work on that today and see what I can do.
I am thinking of putting book 1 into the Kindle lending library–which means I can’t distribute free copies for the time it is in there. If you were hoping for a free copy, now would be the time to ask for it. I know it is a big sacrifice on my part–the 35 cents I lose every time I give a copy away–but since I’m soft-hearted, I’ll still do it.
Posted by unknowing on August 28, 2012
Done being a pastor! More like a hireling, but done anyway.
Wonder what I’ll do now that I don’t have to teach three times every week?
Time to write, while I still don’t have to pound the pavement.
Posted by unknowing on August 26, 2012
A woman spoke with a terrible voice–a voice filled with laughing and crying at the same time. Circumstances had crushed her heart and wrung from it simultaneous contradictory emotions. A housewife and mother there speaking with such a voice as would summon indescribable mysteries of darkness. But not summoning, that terrible voice; summoned.
High above and beyond the circumstances of this world God is singing over her, and one day she will have a voice to sing those things herself.
Posted by unknowing on August 23, 2012
So, first, the Renee Fleming. Singing along with Pavarotti has to be difficult for anybody. I like the way Fleming does three very distinct notes at the climax of the piece. I doubt I could understand it without that.
The second is the Sutherland one. One watches her sing and has to think there is no finer instrument than the human voice. She does the climax with only a small (considering the scale of the moment) gesture at the three notes.
And then there is this not as good recording but more of the definitive edition. Callas, and she does what she wants. You expect the three notes to be somehow indicated, but she does no such thing, soaring on an apotheosis of sound. Makes the Fleming seem powerless. Hear it twice for greater pleasure.
Posted by unknowing on August 23, 2012
The saga continues. Today I give you a few choice* blurbs:
“Mucho muy bueno.” –Mom
“I have to believe that Joel Zartman’s new e-book, The Other Side of Garden Gate, is right up their ally.” –the poet Oestreich
“This brief chapter storybook is an enjoyable fairy tale with many surprises. My upper-elementary age son read it through the day I bought it. He very much liked the story and the characters (he especially liked Nordby’s name). Reading book one will make you want book 2.” –Ryan Martin
*A random sampling, shall we say.
Posted by unknowing on August 22, 2012
Saw from 3200 meters above sea level a pleasant sunset over the hazy vale of Bacatá. We were up on what can be described as the central hill of Bogotá. You can see it for miles from all over the savannah, and it does help that the church is white and has no thin steeple. You ascend on the old funicular rail or by Swiss cable car, or–and here is why they sell one way tickets on the two other modes–do what many do: walk or run the 500 meter ascent, or descent. There are restaurants there, built on the side of the hill so that more tables can be placed at the windows facing the glory of the sunset. If you were up there last night having supper (which we did not) it would have been a fine thing when the sun reached a point below the scattered clouds above the city.
We were in the dungeons of the national museum where artefacts of considerable antiquity are displayed. Too damp for such things, really, but they broke down recently and purchased a few de-humidifiers to plug in. Must have been terrible in there with all the damp weather recently. They need some hot, strong days of sunlight. It is a good building, the former jail, for guarding these treasures from the past–too bad they don’t have more.
Met an Argentinian running an Argentinian restaurant. Mate breath? Yes. Garrulous? Yes. Knows how to push things without being pushy? Yes. Big on telling you all about his life? Yes. They didn’t have Argentinian beef, but he managed some pretty decent Colombian stuff. Big on ageing it, and I suppose if that’s how it ought to be done, then that’s how you do it. Tango was played and the poster of Carlos Gardel was displayed.
There is a little section of restaurants near the bull ring from which our present mayor has banned bull fights. A section of restaurants from which eating has not yet been banned by our mayor, most of which have to do with Latin American cuisine waiting to see what events will bring customers: Peruvian, Mexican, Argentinian. Then there is the Spanish one. Not that the American ones aren’t present; you can always get a hamburger.
We did. They have two chains that do hamburgers: El Corral and Rodeo. The former is better, the latter more native. You get your hot dog at Rodeo and it will include the obligatory ham and cheese, potato chips and quail’s egg all on the hot dog. Also the condiments at Rodeo are of inferior quality, as they are here expected to be. You know the best place for getting decent ketchup in Colombia is MacDonald’s? They import it from Chile.
Posted by unknowing on August 22, 2012
Posted by unknowing on August 21, 2012
Where have I seen somebody trying this before?
Chap just put his stuff up on Kindle. Sailing stories.
Posted by unknowing on August 20, 2012
The last days are upon us. Today our last (and third) visitor arrives and he’ll be here for a good nine days. Next week I prepare for my last Sunday teaching and preaching. I’m finishing up the watercolors, I’ve already packed most of the books and by Friday should be able to put all the heavy lexicons, grammars and concordances in a suitcase.
I like to print out stories and poems and tweak and rewrite them on paper. I’m putting all those updates into the computer and not printing out the results. We have nearly sold all our things and done not badly out of that. We are a lot better at that now that it is the second time we sell most of our material possessions.
The farewells are well underway because if it is any principle that rules in the chaotic consciousness of a Colombian it is the principle of sentimentality. And they put great store in greetings and farewells. We have had some five or six to date. Today we have a couple more, Monday another, next Saturday a big one. After that there is a week for getting the apartment handed off, then another week when we told people we would probably travel. Don’t know if we will exactly, but do know we cannot be scheduled for any more farewells.
And then it is off to the USA. Can’t wait: libraries, breakfasts, secluded places where you are not necessarily mugged all the time, cleaner cities, great cities, cars that can go fast, pizza, concerts, coffee in great varieties, English, books, used book stores, lava lamps, reformed congregations, English hymnody, Paul Ryan, Ryan Martin, my accordion . . . and on and on.
Posted by unknowing on August 18, 2012
Pasillos Isleños. Carlota Jaramillo, Tiples, Plinky Music from the Andes and near the equatorial skies.
That was yesterday, not today. And here is why Julian Assange might want to reconsider Ecuador–Paco Godoy
Posted by unknowing on August 17, 2012
And since yesterday I jumped from being in the 100,000´s to being 63,013is in the rankings of whatever it is they are measuring over at Amazon!!!
Unknowing Times Bestseller. I bet I’m about to break into double digits on sales.
Anybody keen on the sequel now?
Katrina has found some things for the second edition. If you have any, let me know as it would no doubt help.
Posted by unknowing on August 15, 2012
Thanks to the six people who bought my book. I have now made two dollars off of it! So the marketing juggernaut takes off.
Let me know if you’re interested in the sequel.
Posted by unknowing on August 14, 2012
I’ve uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing part one of my story: The Other Side of the Garden Gate.
I didn’t want to charge, but Kindle has to have at least a price of 99 cents.
I am not sure why they ended up putting $2.99 on it, but they did. Maybe it is too long for them to do for less. Maybe it really gripped their attention. Maybe that’s just what they always do. (Looks like in the Kindle it shows up for .99, at least Katrina looked it up that way and that’s how it shows up–not sure why all that.) I think 99 is worth it, not sure about 2.99. Anyway, for that you get 30k words, six chapters, 94 pages.
And it’s by me.
I wrote this back in the day for Sophia. I used to write individual stories but then I wanted to get going on something longer. I tried to get each story up to 5k words, and so you can do the math on the chapter length and the word count. She always wanted me to write something set in Narnia, and once I did, but mostly stayed out. This is kind of like it, only not. I’ve revised the original chapters–though more revision is not out of the question. One can keep updating the text, and already I’ve updated the cover because I found a more interesting font.
So maybe you got a kid, a kindle and three bucks to spare. Be a chap, get the story and make me famous. There will be more to follow.
If you want a free copy, I’ll send the file to you and you can read it on the understanding you’ll post a review at Amazon. Of if you just want a free copy I can just send it to you. There is the option to put it into the Kindle lending library, but then I’d have to agree not to otherwise distribute an electronic copy. Not sure what to think of that.
Posted by unknowing on August 11, 2012
Ben offered the link to the RCA Integrity conference and I have been pecking away at it as I paint. Like Trueman, liked the panel, was illumined on Calvin, have not heard it all, but the first one Ligon Duncan does is excellent. Ordinary means, the Lord’s Day, what and how Scripture says in the confessional context: exactly. At least it settles in nicely with a lot of things I’ve had to think about trying to be a Reformed Baptist pastor in a Reformedish congregation.
Is it because I usually hear these guys in some minimalist context like the Gospel Coalition that I don’t hear them sounding more Reformed and don’t feel such enthusiasm?
Posted by unknowing on August 9, 2012
There is something deeper that we all are searching for, unless, of course we are unconscious of depths. I think our race stares out at the oceans because these hold great distances, and because they hold mysterious depths. The same is true with outer space. True, these things do not hold strange sway over all humans. Some couldn’t care less. But when the fascination is there, that is the real fascination: something unaccountable, something beckoning, something inviting a discovery, suggesting at the same time both joy and danger, wonder and terror.
Beauty is that way. We find an object of beauty and are swayed by it. Beauty persuades; something truly beautiful has that authority when we recognize in it a real, unambiguous beauty. And that also why it is so disconcerting when we find another object with what seems a different kind of beauty. We have a conflict caused by the authority of each, from the demand of each. And we tend to resist persuasion by the second. We rebel because we find in ourselves an active loyalty to the first.
And so, I think, we end up choosing between beauties. But we do it with uneasiness. We defend too heartily the first, we scoff inaccurately the second until time, which had more than the conflict that we sometimes admit, time, that healer, introduces a calm which is really a sort of relativism. We shrug and enjoy; we think the problem was somehow in the authority of that beauty.
But the problem is not in beauty. The problem is that its original authority has now been wrongfully diminished. Beauty is several and is not conflicting. The Greeks who clearly saw the harmony of beauty were not wrong. Beauty is one. The contradictory summons come from facets of a multi-faceted whole which holds a unity we did not suspect. We did not suspect it in those first summons because we thought that what we saw must be all, so great and dazzling it was. But Beauty teaches us through the authoritative summons from another facet to look deeper and to desire more.
And relativism, which depends on an unexamined coexistence, on a contradiction unresolved, shields us from the summons we have received and which call us to penetrate beyond the original and seek something far greater. That is where imagination aids, taking up the suggestion, seeking ways, planning voyages of discovery. Imagination, that organ of penetration and insight is set aside by relativism. Lack of imagination is a form of unconsciousness. The world is shallower without it, and the world of the relativist uninteresting because it stops at a glass ceiling called the end of wonder.
Posted by unknowing on August 9, 2012
Sunday night it was raining in the mountains south of Bogota. Coming over the top we hit the fog and then a drizzle. What with the road being worked on, large tracts without lines, I was glad it wasn’t me driving. We were in a car the which one starts by pushing a button. Has no key, just a card-like thing in a slot. First time for me. So we went down to Fusagasuga.
Warm nights with insects are good for reading, aren’t they? The solitude’s possibilities for tranquility are the best thing. My wife’s not one for staying up late, and I don’t encourage her. It was a good time for reading Charles Williams and I finished the Arthurian poetry. The best thing about Williams is how you always feel he fills you up with unusual ideas and strange images, besides the insights.
There I saw a great, massive bull of the particular breed the farm’s owner’s father developed. They’re the long-eared warmer weather sort. Reddish-brown, hump-backed, and with eyes dull with sheer power was this bull. Left me most uneasy though fascinated. It felt like I was looking at the archetype, except the bull had no horns. Is the archetype the one you can’t take by the horns? Wish I could have looked at him a long time–from a safe place. Couldn’t help thinking I’d sort of walked into The Place of the Lion with that Bull. And then I started seeing many butterflies.
Guayacanes are tall, with shaggy bark, small ferny foliage and purple flowers. They were all in bloom. There are some large and industrious ants that harvest the scattered flowers. They send some nearly half-inch chaps along to cut segments from the flowers and then haul them back to their lair. So busy are these ants, they wear out little paths in the grass. That was an odd walk–I saw the cows, then the ants, then the bull who’d escaped, and then noticed the butterflies. Saw a rooster after that, a fighting cock. One always wonders at the red comb.
In the distance are some mountains whose color changes, you notice them too. They’re green in splendid sunlight, but with a haze in the distance comes a smoky blue. Pointy, with the slope leading up to the summit smooth and as even as a tipped table. There’s a lot to notice about mountains as one dreams and dreams of the archetype.
Insects and foliage prosper there, making it a good place to take in the fecundity of Charles Williams’ imagination.
Posted by unknowing on August 7, 2012
I’m doing surveys of the Minor Prophets for the Sunday school and this week is Micah. Here is the frustration, there is no way that I can see in Spanish to put 7:18 so that it has the slightest glimmer of the majesty of the words Samuel Davies used: Who is a pardoning God like thee?
Some things are like that. For example, the lines “Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God shouldst die for me!” we cannot have in Spanish. It simply works out to less no matter how you arrange it. We have the whole hymn translated, but the chorus is a lesser thing than that climactic original.
So you have to do it differently, or just forego the effect entirely. What simply saying “Who is a pardoning God like thee?” would accomplish in English is not accomplished by saying “¿Qué Dios hay como tú, que perdona la iniquidad?”
And no, we don’t–to the best of my knowledge–even have Great God of Wonders in Spanish.
Posted by unknowing on August 2, 2012
I deleted the landoreth site, the one with stories. I’m going to put them up in Kindle Direct Publishing. I have a lot of stories and these are the ones I can’t see a way of getting past an editor. So I’ll bypass that and see how it works out with these.
Now what I’ll need will be book covers. That gives me something to work toward with the watercolors. I need a garden gate that is sort of a cross between this:
Not by me. Enviable eh?
The wall is right, and the shape of the gate.
Posted by unknowing on August 1, 2012