Half formed thoughts

Among the many things I haven’t yet learned is how to decide well the difference between something — a thought, action, feeling, or whatever — I should take seriously and apply myself to, and what I shouldn’t. Or, rather: what’s worth following with some seriousness, and what isn’t? And how do I follow it? This morning I read the third quarter of The Introverted Church by evangelical pastor Adam McHigh, and wrote a page and a half response before deciding that I was heading off in the wrong direction and shouldn’t bother continuing. There is something I actually want to write and think and pray and act about, but I don’t yet know it well enough to articulate what it is or how I might go about searching it out. On the other hand, I do know a great deal about having an introverted temperament in extroverted settings (especially youth sorts of settings), and also about how a book of such limited scope is almost certainly going to be mediocre if the author doesn’t happen to be brilliant — and if he’s a brilliant writer he would probably not bother writing that kind of book. Anyway, I’m comfortable writing about that kind of thing, even if it’s mostly rubbish. But there’s this other thing, meanwhile, I’m not writing on because I can’t quite see or know it, and I’ve half forgotten why it’s important to me. Way to be vague, I know. It’s something about the sacramentality of creation, or the potential for that, and something about there being a general human vocation for blessing and sanctifying all things, and something about the interpenetration of uncreated energy and created matter… or something. Whatever that something is, I ought to be looking into it — but I’m not sure where to start. I’ll try asking, but if I’m so inarticulate then as now I don’t even know how to ask…

Anyway, I re-read the first section of the Odyssey and the first section of Ulysses (so far I’m seeing no similarities), and liked the latter more than I had before, partly because it was a bit more comprehensible, and partly because Joyce really does have a genius for concrete particularities. I also bought damar resin, crushed it with a hammer, and blended it with beeswax and pigment to make encaustic medium, assembled a propane torch, and have a little panel to paint on.

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One thought on “Half formed thoughts

  1. You never can tell whether a thought is important until it is fully formed. But that is why I like Joyce, because he shows that many thoughts do not have to be pursued, but some do because they are relevant to the situation at hand. Thanks to a the stream of consciousness style, we see that even though Stephen Dedalus has several brilliant thoughts (for Haines’s Book), he has many more half formed thoughts that may or may not have been brilliant, but were not pursued because they have nothing to do with what is going on around him. One example to the contrary that I like is when he sees a dog in the distance and he thinks it is going to attack him. He had to complete that thought out of necessity (because the dog approaching is the situation at hand) by telling himself he had a stick for protection, and that he should sit tight.

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