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. ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................

A Southern Sense of Place

There is nothing like reading the work of Southern authors to reinforce the notion that a writer’s sense of place has everything to do with literature. This poem from Allen Tate is a pretty straightforward example: Emblems I Maryland, Viriginia, Caroline Pent images in sleep Clay valleys rocky hills old fields of pine Unspeakable and deep Out of that source…

The Wonder of Light

I’m trying, once again, to work poetry into my life. I’m not writing it. My penchant for that seems to come and go. No, what I’m striving for is reading it—every day. At the moment, I’m focusing on the work of Allen Tate, a Southern author who lived from 1899 to 1979. Today I enjoyed this: Sonnet to Beauty The wonder…

More Than I Bargained For

Sally Mann’s memoir Hold Still is taking me down some densely overgrown paths. Knowing just a smitch about the controversy that swelled over the nude images of Mann’s young children when her book Immediate Family was published in 1992, I was a bit hesitant to start in on Hold Still. Would I learn more than I wanted to know? Was…

Twice as Human

I’ve got three readings of Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor under my belt. It took that many (along with secondary sources) to get to the point where I understand the point of the book—at least I think I do. While I don’t want a book to hit me over the head with its meaning, Flannery’s fiction takes more work to…

The Materialist Myth

The chapter titled “If I Become Rich, Won’t Someone Else Become Poor?” in Money, Greed, and God by Jay W. Richards is one everybody should read. Perhaps we could then destroy the myth that wealth is not created, but simply transferred. The following excerpt is relatively long, but it spells it out well. After mentioning the parable of talents from the Gospel…

The Beginning of Wisdom

I finished reading Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul II today, and want to share a few paragraphs from the last three pages: Is contemporary man truly moved by a filial fear of God, a fear that is first of all love? One might think—and there is no lack of evidence to this effect—that Hegel’s paradigm of the…

Does the World Need God’s Love?

If nothing else, I’ve learned, from what I’ve read thus far in Crossing the Threshold of Hope, that Pope John Paul II was a well-read and thorough teacher. In the following excerpt, he continues to deal with the Enlightenment and what its adherents wrought on our world. According to the Enlightenment mentality, the world does not need God’s love. The world is self-sufficient. And…