7 quick takes (1/8/14)

See? I can do this too

See? I can do this too



Evidently somepony has compiled a medley of all 44 songs used in all 4 seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I can’t tell you how much this music has become absorbed into my DNA.


In addition to going through Gene Wolfe’s Shadow of the Torturer, I’ve also re-read his early novel, Peace. Although Shadow was my first, I think that Peace is my favourite work of his. It appears to be the reflections of an old man on his life in a small midwestern american town, but there are strange things going on:

Dr. Black sits at a heavy mahogany table. To his left, against the wall, is a big rolltop desk. As I enter, he stands, says hello, musses my hair (which angers me), and lifts me to the top of a leather-covered examination able at one side of the room.

“Open your mouth, son.”

“Doctor, I have had a stroke.”

He laughs, shaking his big belly, and smooths his vest afterward. There is a gleaming brass spittoon in one corner, and he expectorates into it, still smiling.

“Doctor, I am quite serious. Please, can I talk to you for a moment?”

“If it doesn’t hurt your sore throat.”

“My throat isn’t sore. Doctor, have you studied metaphysics?”

“It isn’t my field,” Dr. Black says, “I know more about physic.” But his eyes have opened a little wider – he did not think a boy of four would know the word.

“Matter and energy cannot be destroyed, Doctor. Only transformed into one another. Thus whatever exists can be transformed but not destroyed; but existence is not limited to bits of metal and rays of light – vistas and personalities and even memories all exist. I am an elderly man now, Doctor, and there is no one to advise me. I have cast myself back because I need you. I have had a stroke.”


The method of loci backfires on Joey Prever:

It’s a good day, but it’s not a day for finishing posts. A month ago, my therapist cocked her head to the side and asked me in all honesty, “What do you mean by ‘same-sex attraction’?” and I found out that the answer wasn’t simple. I’ve been working on a doozy of a writeup ever since. I hope I finish it some day.

Ever hear of the Method Of Loci? It’s a method of mnemonics where you build an imaginary castle (or house, or shack, or whatever) in your head and associate various concepts with various objects and locations inside that castle, in order to remember them better. It works great and is lots of fun, but in an effort to organize my thoughts for this article, I accidentally built a mental replica of my room and populated it with the proposed contents of the piece.

So in my mental room, my therapist is sitting at my desk and gazing quizzically at an issue of Maxim. In front of her on the table, there’s a copy of First Things with a desk pendulum swinging on top of it. Next to the desk, Alan Medinger’s Growth Into Manhood has been pulled out of the bookcase and is on the floor, leaning against a bottle of hand lotion. There’s other stuff in there, too, but there is a limit to my candor. It’s like my own private version of The Cell.


Speaking of memory, have you ever become self-aware of the act of introspection, to the point where the capability to do so felt kind of weird?


I have been reading Gerard Manley Hopkins for the first time. The Jesuit priest and poet is growing on me, although his aesthetic philosophy of ‘inscaping’ still eludes me. The Penguin volume I had also contains a substantial amount of his prose writing. I found this in one of the journal entries:

One day in the Long Retreat (which ended on Xmas Day) they were reading in the refectory Sister Emmerich’s account of the Agony in the Garden and I suddenly began to cry and sob and could not stop. I put it down for this reason, that if I had been asked a minute beforehand I should have said that nothing of the sort was going to happen and even when it did I stood in a manner wondering at myself not seeing in my reason the traces of an adequate cause for such strong emotion – the traces of it I say because of course the cause in itself is adequate for the sorrow of a lifetime. I remember much the same thing on Maundy Thursday when the presanctified Host was carried to the sacristy. But neither the wight nor the stress of sorrow, that is to say of the thing which should cause sorrow, by themselves move us or bring the tears as a sharp knife does not cut for breing pressed as long as it is pressed without any shaking of the hand but there is always one touch, something striking sideways and unlooked for, which in both cases undoes resistance and pierces, and this may be so delicate that the pathos seems to have gone directly to the body and cleared the understanding in its passage. On the other hand the pathetic touch by itself, as in dramatic pathos, will only draw slight tears if its matter is not important or not of import to us, the strong emotion coming from a force which was gathered before it was discharged: in this way a knife may pierce the flesh which it had happened only to graze and only grazing will go no deeper.


I have been trying to get back into the habit of keeping a journal, which I fell out of towards the end of my undergraduate career. Pouring through old journals is always an interesting and somewhat unnerving endeavor. It is almost as if I didn’t write some of these things. But then it is also amusing to find myself kvetching:

December 15/10. 12.48 am. In any case, I am quite dissatisfied with the low-rent paganism I find around me.
But I shouldn’t get too caught up until the exam is over.


Sorry, out of ideas.


About Josh W

Scribbler and doodler
This entry was posted in Catholicism, pop culture and its discontents and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 7 quick takes (1/8/14)

  1. I’ll have to check out Wolfe’s Peace at some point. Re-reading journal entries in my own case also feels weird. The end result usually is for me to commit them to the flames. The only reason my past two still remain intact is because they contain some of my stories. A third also yet remains–mostly because I wrote some important information on single malt Scotch in them.

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