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Showing posts from 2015

Negativa, Affirmativa, Beatrice

I am taking an Italian language class at UCLA right now, and afterward there's a wonderful Dante lecture that I attend as well.  There's a special joy about digging into the Divine Comedy again, and I feel more determined than ever to move forward in my academic career.  Today between classes I went to the research library at UCLA.  It's not a gorgeous setting that inspires the mind, but as soon as I found my old familiar section of Dante criticism in the stacks my eyes welled with tears and my chest felt warm.  
I listened to a podcast on my drive to school today that included some thoughts about Charles Williams' famous book, The Figure of Beatrice.  I read the introduction today and I am suddenly alive with ideas.  Williams looks at Beatrice as the ultimate literary image because of what she says about images as a whole.  In the spiritual life, there are two main paths: the negative and the affirmative.  The via negativa looks at all things that have been compared t…

The Broad Museum

The opening of the new Broad Museum downtown has been the splash of the season in LA.  We are lucky to live right next door to it, and we look right at it through nearly every window in our home.  
The opening of the museum has brought life to our block.  Normally Grand Avenue on Bunker Hill is active only when all the nearby bankers and lawyers go on their lunch breaks and during the dinner hour as theater and concert goers scurry from restaurants to performances at the Music Center and Disney Hall.  The Broad has brought a flurry of artistic people to the street at all hours of the day.  Our building is separated from the Broad by a big lawn (such a welcome sight as all irrigation is turned off around the city due to the drought) and two small groves of century-old olive trees.  They are beautifully lit at night, and I love the way our apartment looks into their top branches.  The lawn is filled with children playing and tumbling and running, and every afternoon someone seems to tak…

The Echo of a Tune

After a long writing hiatus, here I am, writing from my new home right downtown Los Angeles.  What a change from Watertown!  More on that later, for tonight I am preoccupied by one of my favorite quotations from another age.  

In Surprised By Joy, CS Lewis talks about the indescribable longings he experienced that played a crucial role in his conversion to Christianity.  He found himself longing for something that had never existed in his past and could not exist in his future, and yet he found himself wanting to travel through time to find it nonetheless.  That sentiment is summed up perfectly in this section of his sermon called "The Weight of Glory":
“In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and …