An Open Notebook

ArchiveNovember 2018

Blood-Red Shields


Shields come in all shapes and sizes. Round and square, flat or concave, they were defensive essentials for thousands of years. Even today, we call many objects ‘shields.’ These guards appear upon objects from welding-masks to cars, such as ‘windshields,’ which, of course, block much of the brisk air which would naturally come our way.  At the end of Psalm 5, the...

Mastering The Art of Rhyme


A couple weeks ago, I pondered with a friend how English is a fairly rhyme-poor language; hence, meaning and wordplay has to be derived from more careful use of rhymes or other modes of syntax. Actually, English tends to look down upon the sing-song nature of rhymes in prose such as this. Rhyming tends to be naturally discouraged, since it just doesn’t ‘sound good’ to English speakers when you...

The Misty Poetry of Genji


Poetry, especially Chinese poetry, dominates the Tale of Genji. Even when this notoriously difficult craft is not participated in, a sport for the adults, even girls and boys are constantly sending poetic messages to each other—written not oral, making text-messaging look like an ancient relic.  At the Festival of Cherry Blossoms, Genji and the others even draw lots for a poetry-competition...

Apart from the Body


Early Americans, and their European counterparts across the Atlantic, grew incredibly concerned in the 1700’s about the essence of print—Both, ‘what it is’ and ‘what it does.’ Printing technology allowed people to circulate anonymous opinions detached from their body. When someone speaks to the crowd in the flesh, at least they can be held accountable for their actions (or succumb to mob-justice)...

Sparks & Charades


Stephen Kellogg may be the definition of Americana; his songs simply pass the test. Being from New England, Kellogg brings an interesting approach to a genre often associated with the Deep South or West-Virginian Hills. He and his accompanying band called the ‘Sixers,’ have easily become one of my favorite lyricists over the years.  Along with his fellow...



In light of the recent refresh, some have pondered why I’ve removed some of the more ‘technical’ posts out of the blogroll. A few reasons: (1) Honestly, I’ve enjoyed the new way more than before, in part because this is my creative space for ‘fun’ writing: no deadlines, no marks, no worries. For the other material, I’ll find a new forum. (2) Second of...

Fairy Tales


C.S. Lewis, a favorite of many, reportably once wrote something along the lines of ‘Someday, you will be old enough to read fairy tales again.’ Using that trite style only a master of English could offer, Lewis reminds us how the arches of youth, through our teenage and young adult years, might eventually bend us back to a place where we are willing to re-listen to these humble stories once more...

After Thoughts


Lately, I’ve been sketching these posts on the sides of coffee cups before they make it to the site. Sure, strange writing material, but when short on paper, “you’ve gotta do with what you’ve got.” That said, the peculiar format serves as a subtle reminder that writing comes in a variety of shapes, for a plethora of purposes. You might outline thoughts in one medium, that eventually are updated...

Annabel, Annabel


The drifty chanton ‘Annabel’ records a sudden lapse of faith upon the passing of someone close. Presumably, she was a good friend, relative, sister. Or, even the narrator’s mother. Though the specific name ‘Annabel’ enhances the tune with its personal touch, the songwriter doesn’t give much hint as to her relational status.  Annabel, Annabel, where did you go? I’ve looked...

Paraphrasing the Psalms (1-4)


We find plenty of vivid images in the Psalms, picturesque to mind and heart. A part of me wants to drop all my schoolwork and spend a few weeks in them. But, such is not entirely possible, and thus this project will probably take a couple years at the pace I’m at. The first time I went through these actually a put together a true translation—fairly faithful to the structure and words as well as...

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