Monday, April 29, 2013

CS Lewis - "Letters to an American Lady"

Over the weekend I finished reading "Letters to an American Lady" by CS Lewis.

It was a fantastic read.  It is a collection of letters sent to a lady in America tracking a 13 year correspondence history.

It was great for what it offered.  It is a glimpse into the thoughts and personality of Jack.  There is no urgency from a publishing deadline or edits for appeal; the urgency is concern for a friend and the words are from the heard.

The letters start out fairly polite and reserved.  As the time passes and the normal personal barriers are passed he shifts from CS Lewis to Jack.  What struck me the most is how very personable (common?) he was.  "Mere Christianity" certainly shows his ability to express complex ideas in normal language; I don't think it struck me how much he lived in normal language.  "Practical" comes to mind, but I'm not sure why.

My other lingering thought was how much this was the exact opposite of "The Screwtape Letters".  These were real letters with no agenda, sharing true concerns with a friend.  TSL is a great book but fabricated, perverted to hide the truth (and to a point of revealing the absurd as CSL intended), between snivelling demons.

It is a light read that I didn't want to end.  It was painful to read of Joy's cancer, remission and then the final recurrence that claimed her time here.  There are many points of humor and many points of vulnerability.  I didn't want it to end because for a moment I felt like I could spy into the friendship and CSL was alive.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Missing my fellow sheep and "Black Sheep Boy"

I'm a mild Pierce Pettis fan.  I should say I'm a huge fan, but I forget sometimes; and I've only dipped my toe into the ocean of his music.

He's an odd musician and I can only think of him as like mac & cheese.  Pierce has been around a long time writing thoughtful songs that aren't hard to digest but certainly can fill you up.  He's comfort food.  Not flashy and always at the table of great music.  At church dinners sometimes I take mac and cheese and while few would claim it as a "favorite food"; that dish always came home empty.

I'm only vaguely familiar with his music and it continues to grow on me.  The more I find the more I want to find.

Anyway he had a free interview/song session that I caught about a year ago and he discussed and then played this song - "Black Sheep Boy".  I immediately checked Youtube and it wasn't there.  But it is now. 

There's that child in your family who tries but always seems to be out of place; and your heart breaks for them.  Maybe your heart breaks because at one time you were the black sheep.

Yesterday I lost a fellow black sheep.  One of my co-workers, Jim, moved to a higher place and is looking down on from above.  He was relocated to the 2nd floor to make room for a new employee.  Jim and I would daily solve problems.  Sometimes in engineering, sometimes in the world - no one ever seemed to ask us for those answers though.  We had many great discussions in the realms of the spiritual, social, political, engineering - we discussed life; we shared life.  We were 25ish years apart but we were kindred souls sharing much of the same outlook and internal drive for solutions, even if they weren't easy.

Jim's doing fine and I'm looking forward to building a friendship with the new guy; but I will greatly miss sharing with Jim.