Wyrdwend

The Filidhic Literary Blog of Jack Günter

WHAT I AM READING AND LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW FOR PERSONAL INTEREST AND/OR FOR RESEARCH

WHAT I AM READING AND LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW FOR PERSONAL INTEREST AND/OR FOR RESEARCH

5/23/18

Books:

The Bible – continuing my comparative study in the original languages between the Old and New Testaments

The Other Bible – supplemental to my scripture studies

The Quantum Labyrinth

The Ascent of Gravity

The Rise and Fall of Alexandria

The 10 Minute Millionaire – research, he has a very interesting trading technique I want to test for myself once I extract the entire formula

The Oxford Book of Medieval English Verse

The Mathematics Bible

The Philokalia: Volume 4 – rereading it for about the 6th time

The Complete Enchanter – De Camp and Pratt

20 Centuries of Great Preaching – research for my own sermons, right now I’m studying the sermons of Saint Chyrsostum

Primitive Christianity: The Library of Religious and Philosophical Thought – right now I’m studying the Theraputae and the Essenes since I’m already listening to lecture on the Dead Sea Scrolls (see below)

Grimoires: A History of Magic Books – I’m seeing if there are any important or worthwhile books of/on magic, either Ancient or Medieval, that are missing from my own library or that I should obtain and read

Lectures:

The Grandeur that was Rome – superb! She is a great professor

The Dead Sea Scrolls – Schiffman, the professor, NYU, has an absolutely fascinating set of theories, such as: that the Essenes were really established by a splinter group of Sadducees (Sons of Zadok), not Pharisees, though they became something completely different, that the Essenes were actually a lay group of the sect established all throughout Israel and in Jewish communities elsewhere (Africa and Asia for instance) and that the Qumran community were the actual “monks” of the Essenes, that the Teacher of Righteousness completely changed the sect, etc, etc. Many of these theories go against conventional wisdom but his evidence is fascinating and compelling, though much of it is negative, that is he eliminates competing theories based on what could have not possibly been, and then deduces his arguments based on the most likely alternatives. I’m really thinking hard on his premises.

Turing’s Cathedral – not really a lecture, but a book on CD which is entirely fascinating and extremely useful, not just as research but because I love these subject matters; math, computing, machine intelligence, engineering, invention, codes and crypts.

Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World – the professor, Holland, at Allegheny, gives a superb set of lectures on Mithra, Isis, the other Mystery Religions of the period, the Republican cults of Rome, the Jews, the early Christians, and a great one on Roman Divination and Jewish prophecy and seerage with definitions I have never heard before (insight, not foresight) versus Free Will. Anyway they have inspired me to adopt some of these concepts into my own religious practice, especially a Christian modification on Divination through the Holy Spirit and to add certain of these premises into my own books and practices of the Theophilos/Theophilon.

Music:

Symphonies No. 8 (the Unfinished) one of my very favorite symphonies, and No.9 by Schubert

Howling Wolf: The Real Folk Blues – very good

Magazines and Graphic Novels:

Machine Design

Backpacker

Men’s Health

Forbes

Popular Mechanics

Outside

Discover

Science News

Ancient Warfare

Make

Daredevil: Chinatown

Batman Eternal

Films:

Rememory – a small, quiet but very worthwhile little film with Peter Dinklage. He really is a superb actor. And I don’t care much for most actors. But very worth seeing and I highly recommend it.

It inspired me, in part, to write That Island on the Sea of Loss

____________________________________________________

 

Works I have recently added to my own library:

Books:

As I have already stated I have recently been able to add several volumes to my personal library from the one-time library of Robert Jordan. Unfortunately Jordan did not make personal notes in his books (as I tend to do) he kept them in pristine condition. Nevertheless just owning them gives me great hope about my own career as a fiction author, although mostly I purchased works of non-fiction from his library. Just to look at and study his library I have to say I would have likely got on very well with the man. His library was filled with collections of history (he had numerous volumes on the Greeks and three on Greek Fire alone), Indians, magic (unfortunately they were apparently just research summations about pagan religion, not real magic, probably for his novels), detective work and skip tracing and manhunting (interesting but not worth my time, my own techniques are superior and far more evolved, those works were from the 1970s or so), warfare (a very good collection), science (he was after all a physicist and nuclear engineer), religion, Christianity, Western Civilization, math, music, etc. the man was a bit of a polymath and I regret not knowing him personally.

Anyway the books I added to my library from his include:

The World of Mathematics – I bought all four volumes, and am really looking forward to these

The Tain – the Irish epic

The Opticks by Sir Issac Newton (the Principia has a high place in ym library, but I didn’t have a copy of the Opticks and now I have Jordan’s copy.) The last time I read the Opticks was in college, so looking forward to this too.

And three books by Keith Laumer. Apparently we were both big fans of the works of Laumer. I got Timetracks, Bolo, and Honor of the Regiment (also Bolo), and the edition of Bolo I obtained is the exact same one I had as a kid (which my mother probably disposed of while I was in college).

So I have recovered my original copy of Bolo. (I play Ogre, also based on BOLO, often by the way).

The other books I got from him I’ll not mention. I’ll take up reading these works as soon as my reading schedule clears.

In addition I added these books to my library

Max Born – the autobiography

Arts of Russia, and

Art Treasures of the Peking Museum – I’m going to take up Ikon painting and pen and ink again. So these are for inspiration.

Music:

Symphonies 8 and 9 by Schubert

Symphony No. 7 Mahler

The near complete works of Henri Purcell

Well, that’s it for now.

Have a great day folks…

Advertisements

APPRENTICES AND MENTORS – HAMMER, TONGS, AND TOOLS

Designing Your Own Apprenticeship: How to Build a Team of Mentors

Recently, a friend wrote a book about how she’s always longed to go to Paris but finally resigned herself to the fact that she won’t. And she’s okay with that. Because Paris, for my friend, is not something out there. It’s what’s right in front of her.

The Art of Designing Your Own Apprenticeship

I love that. She’s given up on the veneer of a life captured on Instagram and rejected the promise of fulfillment a city can bring. Instead, she’s embracing the life she has to live right now and discovering some extraordinary lessons in the process.

For some reason, I couldn’t help but think about my recent post on Medium on networks and how Hemingway’s move to Paris changed his life and career. But for every Hemingway in Paris, there’s a Bronte in rural Haworth.

As I’ve said before, creative success does not happen in isolation. So what network did the Bronte sisters have access to, living in rural England in the 1850s? Certainly not the host of influential artists and authors Hemingway had in Paris in the 1920s. What was the team of mentors that led to their inarguable contribution to the world of literature? Who did they?

Well, they had each other. And in light of my friend’s book, I am left wondering:

The other weekend, I hosted a conference of 150 people from all over who had come together to learn how to build an audience around their messages. At the conference, we kept bringing up the metaphor of the “table.” For us, this meant the place where life is shared and lives are changed. We had people sit at round tables and told them to discuss each speech delivered from stage, sharing what they learned and helping one another apply the lessons.

One takeaway was the table you’re called to may not be a new network. Often, the place where breakthrough happens is the place you find yourself in right now. And that little idea changes everything.

Accidental apprenticeships

In the Middle Ages, we had a different way of getting experience and gaining access to networks.

Under the apprenticeship system, a person worked for free in exchange for an education. The student often lived in the same house as the teacher. This was the way a person became a professional — it was a totally immersive process — and it began as early as age twelve.

After completing the first stage of apprenticeship, the student, now called a “journeyman,” could venture out and travel to other cities for work. What a journeyman could not do, though, was take on apprentices. That right was reserved only for masters.

In many ways, a journeyman was still a student, though now able to be paid. To be a journeyman meant applying the techniques your teacher had passed down to see if they worked in the real world. It was a test, to see if you had what it took.

There was a certain amount of restlessness to being a journeyman. After a season of wandering, you had to submit a master work to the local guild and if they found it worthy, you were accepted in the guild, becoming a master. If not, you might have to wander forever.

How long do you think this process of apprenticeship took? How long to learn a new trade, practice it, and eventually earn the right to teach others?

A far cry from the modern two-month internship today, an apprenticeship took at least ten years. It was an excellent way of learning a skill under the guidance of someone wiser and more experienced. But in modern times, this ancient art of diving deep into a craft has but disappeared.

Now, the responsibility for reaching your potential is up to you.

This is more than a challenge; it’s a cruel taunt. Pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps can only take us so far, and despite what we’ve heard, there is no such thing as a self-made man or woman. We are all products of our environment, influenced by the people we encounter and the places we live. In other words, we need help. So how do we find it?

Finding your calling will not happen without the aid and assistance of others. Every story of success is, in fact, a story of community. Some people will help you willingly, while others may contribute to your education on accident. But if you are wise, you can use it all.

This is what I call an “accidental apprenticeship.” Here’s how it works.

Designing your own apprenticeship

Three years ago, three people I barely knew got together and decided they wanted to start a mastermind group. Each asked three other people, and that’s how the twelve of us started getting to meet every week. We’ve been doing it ever since.

Honestly, this was not the table I hoped to be invited to. I didn’t even know it existed. But this group has been the source of my greatest professional and personal growth in the past decade. Finding your own network may lead to a similar breakthrough. Just remember these three steps:

  1. Decide what you want to learn. Try to get as specific as possible. Listen to your life and pay attention to what it says. Once you get clear on this, share it with people you know so that you can get connected to others who want similar things.
  2. Identify a community you can learn from. Don’t look for a single mentor; look for a group of them. Most mentoring is not between individuals but amongst peers. Even in the Middle Ages, this was often the case. In the studio of a master, there were sometimes a dozen students all working together under the tutelage of a teacher but also learning from each other.
  3. Use the collective resources of the group to help everyone reach their goals.If the group is not already meeting together, then it’s your job to call them together. Help everyone understand what each individual brings to the table and encourage them to share their talents.

This was what the Bronte sisters did for each other. They didn’t have access to the world’s greatest writing teachers, so they became the network they needed. They created their own group of mentors that would help them succeed, writing stories as little girls and sharing them with one another.

I think the lesson here is obvious: Don’t neglect the opportunity you have to create the network you need with the people who are already around you.

Don’t miss where you are right now

At the Tribe Conference, when we were saying goodbyes on the last day, I was happy to see people who sat together all weekend exchanging phone numbers and email addresses. They got it. Community creates opportunity. And if that’s true, then one of the best things we can do is create more communities.

IMG_4753

Sometimes, I think, we get the wrong idea when we see people who succeed because of their network. We think the largest groups with access to the most important people are where growth happens. But often, success is the result of everyday effort multiplied by a small group of people.

We forget that when Hemingway went to Paris, the world didn’t yet know who Gertrude Stein or Ezra Pound was. James Joyce was only beginning his literary career. And Paris was just a cheap place to live.

When you think about your Paris, that place where your greatest growth happens, try to remind yourself that these places can happen anywhere — in the hustle and bustle of 1920s Paris, the rural farmland of 1850s England, and all points in between.

And as you consider who should be sitting at your table, that small group of people who will transform your life, remember these people do not have to be famous. They just have to be committed. What makes a group special is not the prestige of any single member but the collective wisdom it shares. This is where that old quote by Margaret Mead still rings true:

When we gather around any given table, we create community. And we can always squeeze in one more chair. If you don’t have a seat yet, then you just might be the one who is supposed to call everyone together.


In case you missed our little gathering, here are some snapshots as told by the attendees themselves:

Resources

  • To read more about the Bronte sisters and how they helped each other become great writers, check out Bounce by Matthew Syed.
  • To learn more about accidental apprenticeships and how they work practically, listen to this podcast I did on apprenticeship.
  • To learn how to create your own mastermind group, listen to this podcast.
Want to dive deeper into this? Get my best-selling book The Art of Work plus $250 in bonuses including free videos and a workbook.

What’s one thing that you could do today to start creating the kind of community you need? Share in the 15 Comments.

About Jeff Goins

I am the author of four books, including The Art of Work. I also run an online business teaching writers how to get the attention their work deserves. Every week, I send out an email newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

THE CHILD IS THE FATHER OF THE MAN

Being both a writer and a man who homeschooled my own children I found this article fascinating, informative, and useful. Maybe you will too.

The education of a best-selling teenage author

November 10

 

When Christopher Paolini was 15 years old, he started writing a novel that eventually was titled “Eragon,” the first in a four-book series that became known as the “Inheritance Cycle.” He spent two years writing and then rewriting the story and a third year traveling around the country promoting the self-published book before an established author, Carl Hiaasen, read it and had it published by Alfred A. Knopf.  How did he manage to do all this and get an education too? In the following post, his mother, Talita Paolini, explains. Talita Paolini trained and worked as a Montessori preschool teacher. She and her husband, Kenneth, homeschooled their two children. Many parents asked Talita for advice, so she recorded the Paolini Method in a series of articles and books. You can read about it here. She currently resides with her husband and children in Paradise Valley, Montana. On her website, the 30-year-old Christopher Paaolini is quoted as saying:

“People often ask how I was able to write Eragon at the age of fifteen. Well, the credit has to go to my parents, and specifically my mom, who is a trained teacher. She started to educate my sister and me when we were very young, first with games and other fun projects and later with more formal lessons. Without her system of instruction, none of our professional success would have been possible. I was incredibly fortunate to have been educated with these methods, and I firmly believe that children everywhere can benefit from them.”

 

By Talita Paolini

When my son, Christopher, was born, I wondered who he was and who he would become. I had no inkling that he would someday be listed in the Guinness World Records as the youngest author of a bestselling book series. At that time, I just marveled at this little human who had joined our family and felt a sense of responsibility at the task before me: to introduce him to the world.

My husband, Kenneth, and I talked to Christopher, read books to him, and sang to him. We carried him in a backpack, so he could watch what we were doing. He expressed great interest in watching me make dinner, peering over my shoulder as I worked, and he loved observing the world on hikes, while perched high on Kenneth’s back. And when he could walk and talk, wow! He explored the world using all his senses and filled our ears with endless questions and commentary. Our daughter Angela was born not quite two years later, and she developed along the same path. She would become a writer as well.

I had been trained as a Montessori preschool teacher. Dr. Montessori’s philosophy emphasizes the cultivation of children’s innate desire to learn using specially prepared materials and freedom of movement, so it was natural for me to offer my children hands-on activities. Not having the resources to buy expensive classroom materials, I looked for ways to teach them using common household items. In addition, I observed my children closely and then found ways to help them learn through art, games, music, and activities of daily life. In town, we counted cars and trees. We talked about the seasons and where we lived on planet Earth. My children enjoyed doing art projects and playing games with the letters of the alphabet, tracing the letters in preparation for writing, and then pointed out those letters around the house and in town. Each week we visited the library and returned with an armful of books.

THE WATER OF UNDERSTANDING

I think that to a large extent the man has a real point. If you don’t get out and live life how can you possibly write anything worthwhile about life?

Important observations require that you actually observe important things occurring.

If all you do is spend all of your time taking courses to learn technique then you’re just making observations about observations. All you know is merely academic. You’re just navel-gazing.

Yes, you should definitely learn good, solid techniques. That is part (though only part) of your responsibility in being a good writer. But you should also be out in life observing it as it really is and living it so that you will have something true and real (rather than merely artificial and imagined) to say about it. The modern idea that writing is (or should be) an entirely detached and intellectual pursuit is not only repugnant and irrelevant, it’s also just plain silly and unrealistic.

The larger part of your time ought to be spent in living life and writing on that, not learning writing as a substitute or replacement for never having lived.

Experience is the fountainhead of observation, and observation is the Water of Understanding.

Creative writing courses are killing western literature, claims Nobel judge

Horace Engdahl swedish academy nobel prize literature judge
Horace Engdahl, of the Swedish Academy, in Stockholm. Photograph: Fredrik Persson/AP

Western literature is being impoverished by financial support for writers and by creative writing programmes, according to a series of blistering comments from Swedish Academy member Horace Engdahl, speaking shortly before the winner of the Nobel prize for literature is awarded.

In an interview with French paper La Croix, Engdahl said that the “professionalisation” of the job of the writer, via grants and financial support, was having a negative effect on literature. “Even though I understand the temptation, I think it cuts writers off from society, and creates an unhealthy link with institutions,” he told La Croix. “Previously, writers would work as taxi drivers, clerks, secretaries and waiters to make a living. Samuel Beckett and many others lived like this. It was hard – but they fed themselves, from a literary perspective.”

Engdahl, who together with his fellow members of the 18-strong academy is preparing to select the winner of this year’s Nobel literature award, and announce the choice on Thursday, 9 October, said it was on “our western side that there is a problem, because when reading many writers from Asia and Africa, one finds a certain liberty again”.

“I hope the literary riches which we are seeing arise in Asia and Africa will not be lessened by the assimilation and the westernisation of these authors,” he added later in his interview with Sabine Audrerie.

Engdahl told the French journalist that he “did not know” if it was still possible to find – as Alfred Nobel specified the prize would reward – “the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”. Today’s winners are usually 60 or more years old, he said, and are thus unaffected by the changes he described in the life of today’s writers. “But I’m concerned about the future of literature because of this ubiquity of the market. It implies the presence of a ‘counter-market’: a protected, profound literature, which knows how to translate emotions and experiences”…

THE AIMLESS IMPERATIVE

I completely concur. The American University System is completely screwed. And for the most part totally at odds with the Real World.

By the way I am almost always amused by Pinker and very often agree with him.

 

The Trouble With Harvard

The Ivy League is broken and only standardized tests can fix it

By Steven Pinker

The most-read article in the history of this magazine is not about war, politics, or great works of art. It’s about the admissions policies of a handful of elite universities, most prominently my employer, Harvard, which is figuratively and literally immolated on the cover.

It’s not surprising that William Deresiewicz’s “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League” has touched a nerve. Admission to the Ivies is increasingly seen as the bottleneck to a pipeline that feeds a trickle of young adults into the remaining lucrative sectors of our financialized, winner-take-all economy. And their capricious and opaque criteria have set off an arms race of credential mongering that is immiserating the teenagers and parents (in practice, mostly mothers) of the upper middle class.

Deresiewicz writes engagingly about the wacky ways of elite university admissions, and he deserves credit for opening a debate on policies which have been shrouded in Victorian daintiness and bureaucratic obfuscation. Unfortunately, his article is a poor foundation for diagnosing and treating the illness. Long on dogmatic assertion and short on objective analysis, the article is driven by a literarism which exalts bohemian authenticity over worldly success and analytical brainpower. And his grapeshot inflicts a lot of collateral damage while sparing the biggest pachyderms in the parlor.

We can begin with his defamation of the students of elite universities. Like countless graybeards before him, Deresiewicz complains that the kids today are just no good: they are stunted, meek, empty, incurious zombies; faithful drudges; excellent sheep; and, in a flourish he uses twice, “out-of-touch, entitled little shits.” I have spent my career interacting with these students, and do not recognize the targets of this purple invective. Nor does Deresiewicz present any reason to believe that the 18-year-olds of today’s Ivies are more callow or unsure of their lives than the 18-year-olds of yesterday’s Ivies, the non-Ivies, or the country at large…

NEW HOMESCHOOLING STUDIES

My children have begun their new year of homeschooling. Although my oldest daughter graduated High School this past summer in this (her gap) year she will be informally continuing her education with the same books my other children are using.

For this first quarter they will be reading:

TEN GREAT MYSTERIES by Edgar Allen Poe
ARCHAEOLOGY: THEORIES, METHODS, AND PRACTICE – we almost never use textbooks, almost always only original sources, but this textbook was so superb I decided for it
THE BIBLE – they will continue their study of the Bible in English and in Greek
THE DICTIONARY OF SCIENTIFIC LITERACY
INVENT IT, SELL IT, BANK IT by Lori Greiner
THE CELTS by Gerhard Herm

This of course does not include their lab-work (which will be primarily chemistry and biology this year), their musical training, sports, or field trips. This list includes only the books they are reading for the first quarter

MOMMY PILLOW AND THE SUGAR BISCUITS

It might surprise even those who have known me for a long time that in addition to writing tough-mined adult stories and novels I also enjoy writing children’s stories.

By that I mean not just Middle Grade and Juvenile and Young Adult books and stories (and I en joy writing those kinds of things as well) but all the way down to picture books and early picture books. My mother taught me to read very early on, about 5 or 6 (early for those days), and even as a baby she read me far more advanced and complex works that other kids hadn’t heard of at the time, like Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, and parts of the Arthurian Cycle. I never forgot how those early stories she read me had a profound effect upon my own thinking and outlook, even as a small kid, but only later did I come to understand how it had deeply affected my mental and neurological development.
I simply never developed (or desired to) the modern claptrap idea of “stages of learning” and “age appropriate vocabulary development” and all of that other modern educational bullshit far too many currently try to mindlessly foist upon our children.
Even in the very simplest things I write I have far more confidence and faith in the mind, the active imagination of the child (and even of the baby in the womb), and the ability to understand of the child than I do in any of this self-limiting theoretical crap that passes for modern educational “expertise.” That being said, here is a very simple children’s picture book I wrote this morning. It is meant to be read to newborns and children up to about the age of four or five. The story is unfinished as yet and when I do finish it I will seek a publisher.

 

MOMMY PILLOW AND THE SUGAR BISCUITS

Sarah had a pillow
Her favorite pillow too
Her mommy made it for her
Upon an ancient loom

She wove it out of sunshine
Moonbeams and small stars
Every time she slept on it
Her dreams would wander far

Many were the evenings
Her pillow seemed to dance
Every morning when she woke
The world just seemed entranced

Sarah’s favorite sleeping snack
Were sugar biscuits gold
Although she liked the silver ones
Glazed with honey bold

The blue ones topped with cinnamon
Made her often laugh
The green ones striped with fairy dust
She saved to eat for last

The brown ones sprinkled ginger
If she shook them as she ate
The golden sugar biscuits
Shone like jewels upon her plate

When Sarah with her pillow
Would go to sleep at night
Her tummy full of biscuits
Cooked in love and light…

Homeschool on the Farm

Growing cotton, corn, and character

Duplicate My Success

How to be successful in internet marketing.

The Aramaic New Testament

Galilean Aramaic in the Context of Early Christianity

Submit your story logline and showcase it on this network. Or, submit to get your story made into a Video Pitch

Submit your logline pitch and we'll make sure it gets seen be 1000s. Over 1 million plus combined twitter and facebook followers

Axtschmiede

Sharp Words For Your Mind

Jarrad Saul

Travel, Lifestyle and Occasionally Waffle

Mephit James' Blog

From one GM to another.

Kristen Twardowski

A Writer's Workshop

The Public Domain Review

The Filidhic Literary Blog of Jack Günter

Art of Shaima

Fantasy Art and Illustration

Fantastic Maps

Fantasy maps and mapmaking tutorials by Jonathan Roberts

Matthew Zapruder

The Filidhic Literary Blog of Jack Günter

Susie Day | children's books

books for kids about families, friendship, feelings and funny stuff

The Millions

The Filidhic Literary Blog of Jack Günter

The Public Medievalist

The Middle Ages in the Modern World

The Filidhic Literary Blog of Jack Günter

Clive Thompson

Journalist, author, musician

Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds

Hey Did You Know I Write Books

%d bloggers like this: