All posts tagged: Literature

The Road Fallen over poles McCarthy

No Nature, No Culture, Only Love: The Road

Over the past few entries, I’ve touched on the importance of staying optimistic in difficult times. This week, I want to look at a story that puts that to the ultimate test, a story in which hope arises from utter despair: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.There are some who read this post-apocalyptic tale only as an ecological parable, a potential scenario if humanity continues to damage the earth’s life support systems. I don’t. McCarthy doesn’t dwell on the cause of his world’s demise, and neither will I. Instead, I’m more interested in exploring the impact of a ruined earth on the human psyche. How do these characters make sense of the world where nature and culture is beyond recovery? How do they cope with constant and unrelenting despair? What compels them to go on when the past is lost, never to return? The Road touches on these difficult questions. Yet despite seeming like the type of story that revels in violence and nihilism, it is really a tale about the very essence of what it means to …

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On Handling Praise

I am terrible at accepting praise. Those who know me will know that this is not a boast, but rather a hard admission to a deep character flaw. When offered accolades, my first instinct is to deflect and downplay their significance. But I have come to realize that this is a dishonest impulse, a drastic, dramatic form of self-effacingness that not only hides my true feelings, but can actively damage my relationships with others. To reject praise from others for the sake of being humble is, in a sense, to negate their opinions, to call them liars. Rebuffed by this constant dismissal, I see how even genuine goodwill can eventually turn sour. I don’t want that to happen. With gentle but firm reminders from friends and family, I am working to accept praise better, especially when it comes to writing, partly out of a desire to better respect the opinions of others, and partly because I believe my work is worthy of recognition.  Orwell once wrote in his famous essay, Why I Write, that “it is …

Literature as a way of seeing

I came across an interesting post on how stories can help both the writer and the reader see the world in a different light: Literature as a way of seeing, by Helon Habila On art and seeing: “Art, and indeed life itself, is a way of seeing. There is looking at a thing, and then there is seeing a thing; the two are totally different. We look with our eyes, but it takes more than eyes to really see. This is a subject I find myself coming back to over and over again in my writing and in my thinking; and I find that, as a metaphor, it can be extended to most everyday situations. Oppression and poverty have always been with us, but how many among us can claim to have really seen the poor and the powerless, not just look at them, but truly see them?” The motivations of a writer: “The writer enlarges our sympathies by making us see ourselves better, but first he must see himself better in his own work. …