com·mon·place book: noun; a book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use.

..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................Life moves pretty fast. It's nice to slow down and think. I can do that here at The Ruff Draft, where I'm recording some of my thoughts, sharing excerpts from what I'm reading, and making connections between the two. I know that poring over a screen is not nearly as satisfying as holding a book and turning pages, but right now, this is all I can offer you. Please make yourself comfortable. ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Begin Again

Some books hold me back and slow me down—and I’m thankful for that. Two days ago, I started reading (again) How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch. I’ve picked up the book many times, but I’ve never read farther than page five (maybe six), and it’s not that the book is bad. Hardly.…

When the Way Seems Shut

Today’s meditation in Magnificat seems especially cogent. It was written by Dom Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B., Abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Wandrille in Normandy, France. In reality, although following Jesus and leaving everything go hand in hand, it is necessary first of all to follow Christ in order to be able to leave everything. Indeed, only to the extent that…

Good All Around Us

Today’s poem in Favorite Poems Old and New (edited by Helen Ferris) is quite lovely: “For a Child” Fannie Stearns Davis Your friends shall be the Tall Wind, The River and the Tree; The Sun that laughs and marches, The Swallows and the Sea. Your prayers shall be the murmur Of grasses in the rain; The song of wildwood thrushes…

Where?

Five days ago, I pulled out Favorite Poems Old and New, edited by Helen Ferris, a book I’ve read from to the kids and one that played a pretty big role in my first 365-day photography project, which consisted of photos inspired by poems. Five days ago, I embarked upon a new photography project inspired by poems, but this one…

Observations: Genesis 2

The Bible has found its way back into my hands. Here are my notes for the second chapter of Genesis: The creation account in chapter two is significantly different from the creation account of chapter one. This time around, God creates man before the animals. Before creating the beasts, however, God “planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and…

The Inherent Evil of Identitarianism

In Part II of The New Philistines, Sohrab Ahmari focuses on the summer 2016 special issue of Artforum magazine that was devoted to “Art and Identity.” Wow. It reminded me of a Seinfeld character’s take on “The Kramer”: after calling the subject in the painting “a loathsome, offensive brute,” he said, “but I can’t look away.” Perhaps the most interesting…