7 Quick Takes Friday! (1/3/14)



I have decided to jump on the 7 Quick Takes Friday bandwagon, hosted at Jennifer Fulwiler’s Conversion Diary blog! I think it will work as a sort of New Year’s resolution — a way to keep me accountable for posting on a regular basis and prevent me from overanalyzing every post before hitting the “publish” button.


Speaking of New Year’s Resolutions, check out this wonderful post for millennials over at Verily Magazine: “New Years Resolutions for the Millennial.” A taste:

Stop counting your Facebook friends and start making real friends. Neuroscientists report that humans are biologically wired to form strong social communities in order to truly flourish. Yet in recent history, authentic communities have been dissolving in favor of a digital individualism.

I am even going to try to call a different friend every week, as Ms. Crouch suggests. Ambitious, I know.


source: rogerebert.com

I just saw “Saving Mr. Banks” the other day and LOVED it. Although I admit I also caught the distinctive whiff of what Mr. Casey calls “the smell of fresh Oscar bait cooling on the window sill, waiting for eager audiences and Academy voters to catch its scent,” I believe this aroma is well-deserved. The movie is about formidable, and, I think, sympathetically portrayed P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson), author of the Mary Poppins’ books, and her decision to allow the charming but slick Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) to work his film magic upon it.

I think this movie has a lot to say about the art of storytelling. According to Hanks’ Disney, Travers’ creative work and his own both attempt an act of redemption–“if not in life, then in imagination” for the Mr. Bankses of the world, particularly their own troubled fathers. As Flannery says, “There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored.”

Yet this redeeming creative work is not merely a whitewashing of history, either–contrary to this very shortsighted LA times review by Amy Nicholson. The movie does a good job of conveying how love really is the way of seeing people for who they truly are. And I think Ms. Nicholson fails to notice that the movie is also about itself–it is sort of a metanarrative that provides the rational for its own structure. Just as Travers and Disney attempt to redeem Mr. Banks, perhaps the movie also redeems Travers and Disney themselves in some way.


I am going to be teaching Creative Writing next semester. Yikes. I’m rather nervous about returning to six classes a day–though very excited to be teaching juniors and seniors again. I’m thinking of starting with a unit on Children’s Literature first–it’s a good way of analyzing stories, because children’s stories have much less to hide behind than adult stories do. And having my students bring their favorite childhood books to class as a first homework assignment seems to me to be a good way to start off the semester. I’ll keep you posted. And here’s some advice from C. S. Lewis on good writing.


While in downtown Boston the other day (I am home for the holidays), I found myself surrounded once more by the fabulous accent I grew up with but never really adopted (except for words like “wicked” and “jimmies”). Wikpedia has an in-depth and rather fascinating article on the subject, and probably others for whatever region you hail from, as well. Unfortunately, I have yet to discover the etymology of my favorite Louisiana phrase, “Come see.”


Jesus Christ the Apple Tree? Check it out!


 From Pope Francis, via Catholic News Agency:

“And this is the question we should pose ourselves: do we too have great visions and zeal? Are we bold too? Do our dreams fly high? Are we consumed by zeal? Or are we mediocre and satisfied with our theoretical apostolic plans?”

 He has the talent of making me uncomfortable. Which is a good thing.