Fingertips: Longhand Writing; Time-Based Pixel Painting; Beer; Richard Linklater; Leonard Cohen; Joe Henry; Kate Bush; G.K. Chesterton; and St. Vincent

Writing on a computer is like sprinting through a park; you can cover a lot of ground very quickly. But will you have much to say about the ground you covered, or the sights and sounds you passed along the way?

I want to write about subjects that deserve close observation… the kind of “seeing” that can only happen when you’re patiently strolling along the path. So I write my fiction longhand. It slows me down. I see more (and better) storytelling opportunities. When I rough-draft fiction on the laptop, I generate pages and pages of text that is rushed and sloppy, text that takes forever to edit.

“But longhand takes longer.” Um, yes. Most writing that’s worth reading took a long time. Slow-cooked meals are tastier than microwaved meals.

So I’m glad to see Tony Woodlief blogging today about writing longhand: “…most days it feels like my words are blood, and the world is filled with vampires.” Great stuff.

And here are several more paths worth taking, pieces worth reading, treasures worth seeking: 

Here’s a quote from G.K. Chesterton that got my attention this week. I’m going to introduce line breaks, so you can take your time with each line:
The new rebel in our time is a skeptic and will not entirely trust anything, and therefore he has no loyalty and he can’t even be a revolutionary.The fact that he doubts everything, and he must doubt everything, bars his way when he wants to denounce anything.For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine, and you can’t believe in a moral doctrine if all things are meaningless.The modern revolutionary doubts not only the institutions that he denounces, but the doctrine of moral truth by which he denounces it.As a politician he will cry out that war is a waste of life, yet as a philosopher he has to admit that all life is a waste of time.

A Russian philosopher denounces a policeman for killing a peasant and then in his other writings proves that by the highest philosophical theory that the peasant should have killed himself.

A scientist goes to a political meeting where he complains that we are treating native peoples as beasts, and then he goes to a scientific meeting where he proves that we are beasts.

In short, the modern revolutionary, being an infinite skeptic, which he must be, is always engaged in undermining his own mind.

In his books on politics he attacks persons for trampling on morality, but in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on persons.

Therefore the modern rebel has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt by rebelling against everything, he has lost his right to rebel against anything…

There is a kind of thought that stops thought, and that is the only kind of thought that ought to be stopped.

Finally… if you’re ever feeling down, just call on St. Vincent. This rock star will lift your spirits:

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.


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