Clippings from my Kindle

Nearly a year ago I got my Kindle. A few months after that, I figured out how to create highlights. Here are a few Clippings from my Kindle.

God is the only Being in this world who knows fully why He created me. Therefore, He directs my life. Husbands cannot give us purpose. God may choose marriage for part of our ministry. Our future husbands are not mapping out the course of our lives; instead, they are mates designed to join us on the path God has for us (and vice versa). Cheryl McKay, Finally the Bride

I bethought me that a bird capable of addressing a man must have the right of a man to a civil answer; perhaps, as a bird, even a greater claim. George MacDonald, Lilith

If two madmen had ever agreed on anything they might have conquered the world. G. K. Chesterton

I often say I’d rather be alone than with the wrong person, even if the wrong person feels right for a while. It’s not worth getting in the way of, or delaying, God’s true calling on my life. Cheryl McKay

I realized that every woman should hold out for a prince – especially if her Father is the King. Christopher Pence

God is a romancer. No one can match His love. No one in this world can love me more than Him. None. My search to find a love greater is fruitless. God’s love is unmatched. We search for many things to fill our God-sized holes. Only He can fill. Only He can fulfill. Only He can reach. Cheryl McKay, Finally the Bride

She fetched him meat and drynke [drink] plenty, Lyke [like] a true wedded wyfe [wife]. Ancient ballad of Robin Hood’s Merry Men

God tells me things on a need-to-know basis. Apparently, He doesn’t think I need to know anything. Cheryl McKay

I say you shall yet weary
Of the working of your word,
That stricken spirits never strike
Nor lean hands hold a sword.
G. K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse

Follow the passions of your heart, as the Lord allows. Cheryl McKay

And the whole world turned over and came upright. G. K. Chesterton

You, my dear Lord, are all I need. For today. Please don’t change my life one day too soon. Cheryl McKay

The Phenomenon

Lately I’ve been occupied with e-books, primarily how to create them. It’s one of those things that’s easy for those who do it. For those who don’t, it’s hard to get on the right track. But I’m making it – seeking advice, following guides, running Google searches when confused by the guides, downloading software I’d had no notion existed, copying my milk-run e-book onto my Kindle and happily discovering that it looks pretty much like the e-books that cost money.

I’m still absorbing the phenomenon of e-books. About six months ago I officially joined it, getting a Kindle. E-books lack the real, physical presence of paper-and-ink books. You can’t fill your shelves with e-books, or hold one in your hand with the sense that it is all right there, right at that moment. In a way, e-books only exist one page at a time.

Ah, but there are advantages. The highlight and notes feature is nice – especially for those genetically indisposed to write on their books with a pen. (There’s this faint sense of vandalism …) Just as nice, it’s all stored away in one place. Select the right option, and you can see all your highlights, notes, and bookmarks. And if you’ve ever spent half an hour paging through a book for the passage you know is there, you will see the usefulness of Kindle’s search function.

An e-reader can contain a whole personal library – in its own time an efficient compression. Best of all, thousands of books in the free domain can be downloaded for nothing. My own collection has thrived on this.

All this notwithstanding, I still prefer the old books. I like the solid physical reality, the freestanding individuality of each book. I have seen books where the Kindle edition was cheaper than the print by cents. I would never, under a choice like that, buy the e-book.

But I know that some people would. How this will affect the publishing industry, or how far e-books will carry their triumph, I will not venture to guess. It may be that e-books will overtake print until we end in the sci-fi vision of paper books being rarities, luxuries, antiques.

In another sci-fi vision, maybe World War III will throw us back to the Middle Ages, and then paper books will be rare for a different reason. However it will be, for the time print and e-books alike are prospering, and it’s new enough that everybody – publishers, readers, writers – is trying to figure out what, exactly, the possibilities are.

The Story of the Leaning Tower

I decided to do this week’s post on the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and not only because I was late getting to work on it. I’ve long been fascinated at how failing became such a tremendous success.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa leans. This, a tower is not supposed to do. For one thing, it’s terribly inconvenient when you’re trying to eat and the plate keeps sliding off the table. More urgently, there is a danger that the tower will tilt more and more until, finally, it falls over. That a tower is most definitely not supposed to do.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the campanile – the freestanding bell tower – of the Cathedral of Pisa. In the twelfth century, when construction began, Pisa was a city-state, one of Italy’s maritime republics. For a time it dominated trade on the Mediterranean. The city elders decided to build a cathedral square – erecting first the cathedral and the baptistry, and then the bell tower.

Now, the town of Pisa was named from a Greek word meaning “marshy land”. And they were only being accurate. The city “lies on a thin layer of soft alluvial silt, above a thick layer of even softer marine clay. It’s practically a bog.” (The Telegraph) So the earth was weak, and the foundation they laid was also weak. In 1173, building began; in 1178, after they had progressed to the second floor, the tower began to sink. It’s been tilting ever since.

War caused a halt to the building of the tower – and, many believe, prevented its collapse. During the long interim, the land stabilized as the tower’s weight slowly compacted the dirt beneath it. In 1272 work began again, under the architect Giovanni di Simone. He tried to correct the tower’s tilt (see, it wasn’t supposed to do that!), but he failed.

In the early fifteenth century, Pisa lost its independence. Eventually the Leaning Tower of Pisa became one of the monuments of Italy, enjoying international fame. The inhabitants of Pisa liked to say that only God was holding their tower up – in His love.

But there was a dissenting opinion; there always is. Mussolini didn’t like to have a lopsided tower as a national symbol. He took a course of action that was, for the class he belonged to*, very temperate: He had 80 tons of concrete poured into the foundations. The Tower of Pisa, in admirable defiance, continued to lean.

During World War II, as the Allies battled the Nazis for Italy, the German army used the tower as an observation post. When the U.S. military discovered this, the fate of the Leaning Tower was placed in the hands of an American sergeant. He decided not to call in an artillery strike, and the tower survived yet another war.

Of course, the existential danger of the Tower of Pisa is that it leans, and does so at an ever-increasing angle. As the twentieth century wore on, it became alarmingly clear that even a thunderstorm had the potential to knock down the tower. So, in 1990, the Tower of Pisa was shut down. After eleven years of structural strengthening, it was declared ready to go on standing – and leaning – for two or three centuries more.

G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “God only knows, man failing in his choice, how far apparent failure may succeed.” And that, in essence, is the story of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

* The Crazy Dictator class. He could have just blown it up, you know.

Reports for Those who Worry (About Planet Earth)

I said in my last post that the CSFF blog tour would be this week. Well

The tour normally starts on the third Monday of the month. I thought, then, that the blog tour would run this week, but as is painfully clear, I was wrong. I would’ve (should’ve, anyway) posted on this earlier, but most of this last week I have been out of town.

All told, I spent a couple dozen hours on the interstate. I am pleased to report, for those who worry about the earth running out of space, that there is plenty of space in the Midwest. Scads of it – mile upon empty mile.

Unfortunately, I also have to report, for those who worry about global warming, that the temperatures in Wisconsin have been in the high seventies. This is in the middle of March and, I repeat, Wisconsin. So the polar ice caps are going to melt, and the oceans will rise, and Manhattan will be submerged. And then the Manhattanites will have to move to Kansas.

At least, when they relocate to the Midwest, they will be able to appreciate the wind turbines. Even I appreciate the wind turbines. There’s something very evocative about what looks like sci-fi windmills – all smooth metal – towering over flat, green fields. It’s even more striking when there are trees or houses close by, and you realize how enormous the turbines really are. Jack might not have needed a beanstalk, if he had lived near one of those.

But back to the CSFF blog tour of Night of the Living Dead Christian. It will start next Monday, the 26th. I know this time – I got the e-mail.