Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Genealogy of Ideas

You don’t get to pick your family, but you can pick your teachers and you can pick your friends and you can pick the music you listen to and you can pick the books you read and you can pick the movies you see. You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences. The German writer Goethe said, "We are shaped and fashioned by what we love. 

Austin Kleon

As I said a couple days ago, I was inspired by Austin Kleon's short book Steal Like an Artist to assemble a "Genealogy of Ideas." I had some fun with this. I chose four writers whose works I have have nearly exhausted though the years. They each resonate with me for a broad spectrum of reasons. Taken collectively, perhaps they'll give me a glimpse into the type of writing that fits me best.

1. Diane Ackerman  ". . . is an American poet, essayist, and naturalist known for her wide-ranging curiosity and poetic explorations of the natural world."

I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well. ~D.A.

2. Lauren Winner ". . . is a historian, author and lecturer. She is Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke Divinity SchoolWinner writes and lectures on Christian practice, the history of Christianity in America, and Jewish–Christian relations."

Some days I am not sure if my faith is riddled with doubt, or whether, graciously, my doubt is riddled with faith. And yet I keep living in the world the way a religious person lives in the world; I keep living in a world that I know to be enchanted, and not left alone. I doubt; I am uncertain; I am restless, prone to wander. And yet, glimmers of holy keep interrupting my gaze.~L.W.

3. Malcolm Gladwell    ". . . is an English-born Canadian journalist, author, and speaker."

Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig. 

4. Leo Tolstoy ". . . was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time."

Joy can only be real if people look upon their life as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness. 

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