Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Literature Potpourri

Dear Reader and lover of literature,

If you are anywhere near Nashville from Thursday to Saturday 25-27th, you should attend the Christian Scholars' Conference at Lipscomb.

On Thursday, Hubert Locke, a Holocaust scholar and writer will speak at 12:00 on The Power of Narrative. Then at 4:00 Barbara Brown Taylor, one of my favorite religious writers today will speak again on "The Power of Narrative." At 7:30 Tokens, a Garrison Keillor type show, will be presented in the the Alumni Auditorium.

Friday will bring Billy Collins, an American poet, speaking on "Poetry and the Power of Narrative."

Saturday Marilynne Robinson will end with "The Power of Narrative". She is the Pulitzer winner and author of Gilead and Home.

Strong, strong program with literally over a hundred papers and panels intervening the speeches.

Collins has written a wonderful poem that I liked to use with my college students:

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Broadway Musicals II

If you love Broadway music as I do, you are in for a treat if you Google you tube.com Sound of Music Central Station Antwerp--- Everytime I hear Julie Andrews, I am always amazed at her diction and clear-as-a-bell voice.

Talk about a reality show--this one lifted my heart today.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Mind of a Teacher

Does the mind of a teacher ever stop? Are there times when the synapses just turn off and nothing rolls around in the head?

In my case, the answer is no. When I encounter someone with a problem or a question which can be met with literature, music or quotation, I can usually think of one that will fit--even if the answer is Alice is Wonderland. These days, however, I cannot usually think of all the title, all of the song, who wrote the book or who said what. I do know there is an answer lurking out there somewhere.

For example, before this morning's sermon by Michael Easeley at Fellowship Bible, a woman read Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken. The sermon was on Psalm 1, and the poem fit very aptly there, as it fits several theological contexts which my mind started racing toward as the poem was being read--Abraham and Mary of Bethany, etc.

I am happiest when I am thinking such things and trying to make the fireworks in my brain continue to burn.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Those who read my blog know that I am a big fan of Broadway musicals. They have taught me, brought me comfort and entertain me even today.

Last Saturday, I snagged some tickets to Wicked which will open in Nashville on Sept. 2. I have been listening to the sound track trying to sort out the story. It carries some of the wittiest lyrics I have heard in a long time. From making up words (rejoicify) to the Wizard carrying Wonderful as part of his name, the songs are poignant, thoughtful, fun, and, well, musical.

I have ordered the book so I can read it before I go--and I may even read the Wizard of Oz too.
I'll bet Frank Baum never figured his little books would spawn music and millions.

But, think back to all the musicals you have seen on stage or in the movies--Remember that song in South Pacific which says that prejudice is not inborn, it has to be taught? Certainly a profound and true statement. "The hills are alive with the sound of music" brought beauty to mountains I had never seen. Even some of the lyrics of Oklahoma are thought-provoking: Poor Jud is Daid (Dead) comes to mind. And for Les Mis--what can one say about those songs? "Bring Him Home" has to be one of the saddest songs ever written. And on, and on.
West Side Story also helped me open my eyes to the prejudice felt by the Latinos in NYC.
Mamma Mia helped me appreciate Abba more. So you see, musicals have helped form me and my philosophy.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sam

Samuel Scott Thomas is 4 years old today! What a short 4 years it has been. I am so charmed by my favorite grandson (my only grandson!)--he is so different from his sisters, and yet so like them. His hair is red, his disposition is sunny, and his conversation is articulate. He likes Spiderman, the Power Rangers, and watching videos. His is temperament is sweet like his sisters, and he loves music like Maddie and is compassionate like Ella.

His birth has given us an added spark and joy in watching him become a typical boy -- rambunctious, inquisitive, and in some minor cases destructive (just to see how things tick).
He likes throwing things, riding his bike, jumping on the trampolene, and singing. May God bless his life as he grows in the knowledge of Jesus and his love.

I love you buddy boy. Happy birthday. Love, Nonnie

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Comfort of Old Friends

I have had a wonderful two days--old friends from Abilene, Dave and Ann Jones came through on their way to Lawrenceberg and spent the night.

Dave was one of my friends in college, a friend of Sam later, and our next-door neighbor when we lived in our Potosi house. Sam performed his and Ann's marriage.

We thought we were going to take a cruise on the General Jackson on Tuesday, but turns out it doesn't sail on Tues. So I took them to the Factory to eat and shop in Franklin, and we kind of toured my end of Nashville and saw monster houses , and I took them to Otter's new building.

It is so relaxing to be with friends who know your history and every quirk, and you can just slide into conversations as if you had seen each other only yesterday. I got caught up on all the school and church gossip from Abilene and on what all our other friends are doing.

Wed. was a perfect day for the sail, and we really enjoyed it. Serendipities abounded--At our table at lunch were the parents of friends in Abilene and a couple from Fresno who recognized me from my picture on Brandon's blog. Just proves that one must be good all the time!

Now I am lonesome.