Statement of Philosophy

A site for exploration and discussion about verse, poetics, the aesthetic, and creative writing in general.

Because there is a profound difference between writing something to be read and writing something worth reading; and in that difference might beauty be found.

★★ The Latest Posts on Hatter's Adversaria
Something I Read #19 – Carl JungSomething I Read #18 – Mircea Eliade
Something I Read #17 – D.S. SavageDelillo's Underworld – a Review/Response

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Sea and the Mirror by W.H. Auden

The Sea and the Mirror is in Google books [link]. You can scroll down to the Preface.


a note on difficulty


In admission, this post is a little dependent upon that you have (or have had) the same experience with the text that I had. If not, just play along anyway.


I want to take a look at a moment in W.H. Auden's The Sea and the Mirror. The work, if you are unfamiliar with it, is, as the subtitle offers, "A Commentary on Shakespeare's The Tempest." It's various parts are written mostly in the voices of the characters of the play, set as though the play has just concluded and the characters have something more to say, comments that extend the play beyond its final curtain, and, even, beyond the stage. Through this Auden gives a philosophical response to The Tempest as he reads it.[FN]

[FN] The Sea and the Mirror is found in the Vintage Collected Works. It has also been published in an individual volume, edited by Arthur Kirsch (Princeton UP, 2003), which contains also a thirty page introduction that is worth looking up; not only for what it says about The Sea and the Mirror, but for how it puts much of Auden's work in a philosophical context.

The reason I'm re-reading The Sea and the Mirror, the reason I'm presently reading Auden, is because I've gotten my hands on a little critical analysis of Auden's career: Gerald Nelson's Changes of Heart: A Study in the Poetry of W.H. Auden (U of Cal P, 1969). Outside of some small familiarity with a here and there verse ("In Memory of W.B. Yeats" is a favorite), Auden has been something of a gap in my knowledge of twentieth-century verse in English. Nelson's book is in effort to fill that gap, however lightly. To note, it is a book that attempts to defend Auden against the major criticisms that has been leveled against his work: that he failed to live up to the promise of his early work, that his return to Christianity had negative impact on his work; that Auden's career was "without development as a poet" and as such "the success of any individual poem [was] pure accident." (ix) As for my own response to Auden, I don't consider myself familiar enough with him to speak to that criticism; though, I will say that my own experience with his work, my various times browsing through his Collected, does permit it.

That criticism has little bearing on what I want to do here. I have a different question to ask. It is a question that is applicable to the whole of The Sea and the Mirror, though I will use only the one small part of the work – concentrating on a single stanza – as example to the whole.


The Sea and the Mirror opens with a Preface in the voice of the Stage Manager – the only voice in the work that is not a character in the play – speaking "to the Critics." I will focus on the first stanza; but let me give you the first two (out of four), so that first stanza is not completely isolated. Though this is but two stanzas, they represent sufficiently the whole of the Preface, and even can stand as representative of the whole of the work, if only for the question I wish to ask.

The aged catch their breath,
For the nonchalant couple go
Waltzing across the tightrope
As if there were no death
Or hope of falling down;
The wounded cry as the clown
Doubles his meaning, and O
How the dear little children laugh
When the drums roll and the lovely
Lady is sawn in half.

O what authority gives
Existence its surprise?
Science is happy to answer
That the ghosts who haunt our lives
Are handy with mirrors and wire,
That song and sugar and fire,
Courage and come-hither eyes
Have a genius for taking pains.
But how does one think of a habit?
Our wonder, our terror remains.

Where this small sample is representative of the whole is in the difficulty of the verse. As Nelson describes, The Sea and the Mirror is Auden's most difficult and most complex work. "Many critics maintain that it is Auden's masterpiece, while others find it even more irritating than Auden found The Tempest" (21). And, in honest, "irritating" is one of the emotions I had when reading The Sea and the Mirror. It is, as you might see in the above, a dense work; more accurately a very condensed work – which is not the same thing. When something is condensed it can become dense, yes; but it does so through part of it being removed. Condensation is not in itself a negative thing. Indeed, I argue that it is an essential skill to sophisticated writing. However, being too condensed will have its negative effects. What is difficult can become obtuse; and what is obtuse can become impenetrable. Thus the irritation. When I read The Sea and the Mirror I feel as though Auden is skipping across his argument like a stone across water, making it extremely difficult to enter into the depths of that argument.

Let's look at that first stanza. It is readily noticed that it is not describing a performance of The Tempest but a circus. When I would read it (before reading Nelson) I would attempt to connect the circus to the play. After all, these are the first words of the The Sea and the Mirror, a "commentary" on The Tempest, so it is not afield to think the text would begin by connecting the reader to the play. In that way, it is natural to see "the nonchalant couple" as Miranda and Ferdinand. And as Trinculo is Alonso's jester, there is also a clown. Though, where in The Tempest to find a lady being sawn in half? There is a problem with the association of characters.

As Nelson reveals, connecting the opening stanza to the play is a false reading. In fact, the argument of the stanza lies not in the play (the circus) but in the audience. Let me give you the core of Nelson's reading, though I will present it in reverse order. There are at the end the children laughing at a lady being sawn in half. It is children laughing at death; and, children are able to laugh at such things because, being children, they have as of yet no real understanding of death. In the middle are the middle-aged audience, the "wounded," people who have suffered the pains of life, and as such people who experience not only the humor of clowns but also the pain and violence that so often underlies that humor. Finally (firstly), there are the elderly, the people nearest to death, who thus have the greatest fear of death, and who "catch their breath" at the tightrope walkers perilously high above the ground.

On one hand, once you see the structure it is fairly easy to see the structure. I can't now not read it so. But on the other hand, in order to see that structure I had to recognize that the description of a performance in a verse about The Tempest had nothing directly to do with The Tempest, and then shift the focus in a verse about a performance of The Tempest (remember, this is the stage manager speaking to the critics about a play just concluded) away from the performance itself and to the audience. On top of that, I had to negotiate condensed language: e.g., the whole of the relationship of middle-aged people to death is condensed to nine words, and one had to find middle-aged people in "the wounded." The sum effect is that the idea of death is so removed from the passage that it took someone saying "it's about death" for me to go "Ohhh! It's about death." Not the most easily reached conclusion. Which brings me to my question:

When is a work too difficult?

Reading beyond the first stanza the texts asks,

O what authority gives
Existence its surprise?

Even with Nelson's reading of the first stanza in hand, can you anchor that question within an argument? Can you make sufficient sense of that question? Does adding the rest of the stanza help to flush it out? To say, the third stanza offers no help to understanding the second; it moves on from the second stanza as quickly as the second stanza moved on from the first.

When is a work too difficult?

Now, I will say, Nelson's reading of the first stanza, of the Preface, and of The Sea and the Mirror as a whole did much to bring some life to the work as a whole. And I think that if a person can present a successful reading of a text, as Nelson did of that first stanza, it is sufficient argument against the accusation that a text is too difficult. Just because a text is difficult to me does not mean the text is universally difficult. Which is an important point. Difficulty, in itself, is not – is never – sufficient to the condemnation of a text. In fact, difficulty should be something expected in the realm of literature. Climbing the learning curve of literature is in part the effort of learning to master – and enjoy – the difficulties one encounters in texts. It is also true that learning to write literature is in part the effort of learning to master the difficult. Complex thought requires complex presentation. (Is it equally true that simple thoughts should be presented simply?)

Difficulty for the sake of difficulty – for example the use of obscure words solely for the sake of using obscure words – will fail a writer. The pay-off for the reader should exceed their effort. For example, there is a sense of play to be found in Wallace Stevens's use of rarified words. The added difficulty does not get in the way of the pleasure of his texts but contributes to it. This gets us to the other side of the coin: just as difficulty is not sufficient to the condemnation of a text, nor is it in itself the means to the redemption of a text. The text still has to work as a literary text, as a literary experience. Defending a text by saying "well, it's a difficult text" is meaningless. Difficulty is not justification for a text that does not work on its own.

The opening stanza of The Sea and the Mirror is difficult. In the four or five times I read it before looking into Nelson, I could not make sense of the whole of it. However, after Nelson's reading I can easily see the structure in the text.

But Nelson does not stop at that reading. Rather, he comes to the following conclusion as regards the first stanza.

This is the scene presented to the Critics by the Stage Manager; he is asking them to be aware of the audience as well as the show. What Auden is asking us to do is to be aware from the very beginning of The Sea and the Mirror of the possibilities inherent in the relationship between life and art, to be aware of the narrow boundary between illusion and reality. He asks us, in short, to try to place ourselves in the position of the Critics and to think about what we see. (26)

That is a lot gleaned from ten rather concise lines. Granted, it is a reading that is taking the whole of the work into consideration, but the reading must still be legitimated by the text itself. And, in working through the whole of Nelson's reading of The Sea and the Mirror, I was frequently questioning, however much Nelson's ideas may fit the text, whether those ideas could be said to have been generated by the text. A lot was often made of relatively few words. I cannot myself, even using Nelson's text, make the argument that above paragraph is to be found in that first stanza. And, as I said, The Sea and the Mirror is throughout a very condensed text. At every point Auden is continually asking the reader to make a lot out of very few words.

Which prompts my answer to my question. When is a text too difficult? When it is no longer difficult, but something else, be it poorly written or intricately inscrutible.

I myself in reading The Sea and the Mirror could not bring its various parts into a working whole. "What does this mean?", "What am I to do with this?" were frequent questions, that were rarely (if ever) answered by the text itself. It took an outside person to give me some sense of argument across the text. And I am not convinced that that argument can be found within the text. Nelson describes The Sea and the Mirror as "by far the most technically complicated of all of Auden's poetry, [. . .] also, perhaps because of its complexity, one of his most difficult works ideationally" (21-22). In contrast, those who were critical of Auden's work found his long poems "diffuse in thought and uncertain in technique" (ix). Which fits more with my experience of The Sea and the Mirror. The first stanza of the Preface is a difficult stanza, but one out of which a structure can be revealed. However, as Nelson's reading may show, bringing that stanza into the whole of the text seems to involve something beyond close reading, something other than explaining the difficult. Take a look at Nelson's reading of the second stanza. To save you having to scroll back, I'll will give you again that second stanza before Nelson's reading.

O what authority gives
Existence its surprise?
Science is happy to answer
That the ghosts who haunt our lives
Are handy with mirrors and wire,
That song and sugar and fire,
Courage and come-hither eyes
Have a genius for taking pains.
But how does one think of a habit?
Our wonder, our terror remains.

Now Nelson:

Once the Stage Manager has set the scene, he moves directly to the problem of man's existence. Since it is his job to eliminate real surprise [on stage] while maintaining the illusion of surprise [for the audience], it is only natural that he should begin his discussion of existence in theatrical terms. As a result, the scientist's nonaccidental, mechanical universe becomes one in which

. . . the ghosts who haunt our lives
Are handy with mirrors and wire.

This is a purely theatrical image of the universe and is applicable to what occurs backstage [. . .]. There is a solid natural order behind all things.

"But," inquires the Stage Manager, "how does one think up a habit?" How does rational order explain the completely irrational? The Stage Manager's notion of existence would seem to be this: the irrational, unconscious fears and needs of human beings, before which reason pales, permit only "our wonder, our terror" to remain.

So much for one answer to the problem of existence.

The connection between the reading and the stanza itself is not terribly concrete. (Is a habit "completely irrational"? What of the lines beginning "That song and sugar and fire"?) Nelson has a reading of the text, yes; but that reading does not come off as derived from the text in the manner that the base reading of the first stanza (that it is about death) can be shown within the text itself. Considering the nature of the reading, as you move through the second stanza and through the verse as a whole, Nelson's reading does not seem to be an explication of a difficult – or "technically complicated" – work. Rather, it seems to be someone drawing in the lines that connect the separate strikes of the stone upon the water, a layer of ideation set on top of the work. As such, given the apparently necessary nature of a reading of The Sea and the Mirror both in part and in whole, I am faced with the idea that The Sea and the Mirror cannot be called a "difficult" work. "Diffuse," or too condensed; but not "difficult."

Monday, May 29, 2017

"Taxing the Rain" by Penelope Shuttle

Penelope Shuttle's "Taxing the Rain" can be found here [link]

an exploration post


Let's just explore some language in a bit a verse. Penelope Shuttle's "Taxing the Rain" passed by my way today in my FB scroll and it struck me as a curious thing. It's been put online by Jeanette Winterson on her page [link]. (To note, it came my way formatted entirely in two-line stanzas, not as Winterson types it.)

The heart of the verse – its focus and its primary source of energy as presented – is the description of rain and what it does. And there are moments in there that might in themselves offer points for interesting discussion. (E.g., the shape of scented baths? Or, is it rain anymore when it is a bath? Or, notice how the verse uses a shift to abstraction, "dreamy complexity," to get the rain indoors.) However, what interests me most is the framing device that is used to get the verse to the idea of what the rain is and does: that is, the idea of people wanting to "tax the rain."

The idea as presented creates a difficulty. You can speak of "taxing automobiles," say, but it is clear from the idea that it is the owner that will pay the tax. It is the owner that is really being taxed. But who would be the once-removed target of putting a tax on rain? Nobody "possesses" rain; nobody "causes" rain for a desired purpose. Indeed, most of the text's description of rain is rather universal if not a-personal. How would the rain pay a tax upon itself? How would such a thing be leveed? What exactly would be collected? Does the phrase "tax the rain" make any sense in the everyday world? With any thought comes the recognition that taxing the rain is inherently an absurdity.

Now, the presence of an absurdity in a text does is not in itself a flaw in the text. The issue is not whether there exists an absurdity. The issue is whether the text can get the reader over the ideational hurdle of the absurdity. That is, to use a phrase, does the text successfully suspend disbelief so that the absurdity can become part of a vibrant whole?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Introduction to "The Kekulé Problem" by David Krakauer

the fear of empty space


Here is a curious moment from something recently published on the web. The article is "The Kekulé Problem" by Cormac McCarthy, published on the Nautilus site [link]. What caught my eye, however, lies in the introduction to the article. That intro begins:

Cormac McCarthy is best known to the world as a writer of novels. These include Blood Meridian, All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, and The Road. At the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) he is a research colleague and thought of in complementary terms. An aficionado on subjects ranging from the history of mathematics, philosophical arguments relating to the status of quantum mechanics as a causal theory, [. . .]

It is necessary to context to know that the intro was written by one David Krakauer, himself a professor at the Santa Fe Institute.

My interest lies in the third sentence.

At the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) he is a research colleague and thought of in complementary terms.

There are two things here. First, a moment of syntax.

Hopefully you caught that there is an error in syntax in the list: specifically, the list is written as though it contained a parallelism that doesn't exist. The list is written as though the "is" applies equally to both parts of the list.

[. . .] he is
a research colleague
and thought of in complementary terms.

That is, however, not true. In the first entry in the list the structure is that of noun-is-noun, the "is" being used as a copula [he – is – a colleague]. In the second entry in the list the structure is that of noun-verb, with "is" being used as an auxiliary verb [he – is thought of].

As a general rule, when you are listing phrases you should include in the element of the list the whole of the basic structure of the phrase. That way you avoid the stumbles such as that created above. The sentence should be written

At the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) he is a research colleague and is thought of in complementary terms.

I say only "general rule": writing it out should be the default, varied from only when the writer is sure that the variation works, when it does not create an unwanted hiccup in the reader's ear (and is interesting enough to justify the variation). It should be a conscious choice when you vary from the default, not an accident of inattentive writing. The likelihood of creating something that sounds clumsy will exist almost entirely on the side of not following the default. For example, when giving a list of infinitive phrases, it should be the default to include the "to" in each element in the list. This becomes important when the phrases get long and the reader's ear could really use the repeated "to" to help organize. However, the construction is only the default. To the other side, when the phrases are very small, having the "to" on every phrase can sound repetitive and unnecessary. As well, when the phrases do not need the "to" keep themselves organized, the decision to include or remove the "to" can work to controlling tempo and other aural effects. Anaphora exists for a reason, after all.

Attentiveness to this applies doubly in verse, where line breaks and the pauses created thereby are added to the mix, as well where aural effects are (ostensibly) in play. It is all the easier in verse to lose the sentence structure when the phrases get long.

Speaking of anaphora, here's an example I just came across in prose, in the essay "The Crisis of Language" by Richard Sheppard, in Bradbury and McFarlane's Modernism.

Essentially, both the Dadaists and the Surrealists were anti-art. With them, literature and poetry cease to be supreme and become instead only one psychedelic means among others. With them, poetry becomes 'disposable', created for no particular purpose, and useful in an undefinable way. With them, language is displaced from its pinnacle and reinstated simply as one means of communication among many. With them, language ceases to be the tool for asserting human lordship over the universe and becomes a natural force in its own right, which creates as it will and over which human beings have only limited control. With them, man becomes the servant of his language rather than its master. [continuing for three more "with them"s]

A good example of a device used both to help maintain structure for the reader's benefit and to create an aural effect.


But back to the sentence of concern. There is a second event going on with it – or least there is evidence of this second event: one can never be sure with such things when you move from "what is" to "why it happened." The event, or the evidence of the event, is very apparent to me because I see in it something I struggle with in my own writing, a source of bad habits that, in both my creative work and my essays, I must ever be alert to. Unfortunately, I may not be able to make the event visible to everyone (and probably won't). I'm hoping I can make it apparent by backing into it.

Here's the sentence again.

At the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) he is a research colleague and thought of in complementary terms.

Beside the bad syntax, that sentence should catch your ear as somewhat odd. Why would someone say "thought of in complementary terms"? First, I don't think the guy would be a "colleague" if nobody could stand his presence, so the second half of the sentence is rather implied in the first. Technically, it doesn't need to be stated. Second, that's all that can be mustered? "Thought of in complementary terms"? He doesn't even make it to "is well liked"? It is all in all an oddly chosen phrasing. Disregarding the possibility that the phrasing is a poorly told joke (nothing in the rest of the introduction hints at humor), why does that oddly worded phrase exist?

I believe the answer lies in the first half of the sentence.

At the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) he is a research colleague.

Now, it is correctly written "Santa Fe Institute" first, and not,

He is a research colleague at the Santa Fe Institute.

because the information being presented is not the fact of McCarthy's association with the SFI, but the nature of that association.

Read it again, in context.

Cormac McCarthy is best known to the world as a writer of novels. These include Blood Meridian, All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, and The Road. At the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) he is a research colleague.

Do you feel a slight tension? It is such a short, succinct sentence. Do you get the feeling that something's missing? That the sentence is somehow incomplete? Do you have a want for the sentence to continue on?

At the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) he is a research colleague and . . . .

It is in that "and," in the desire for that "and," that I place the source of the poorly written second half of the sentence: a desire, an impulse to add something to the sentence because the sentence simply does not feel long enough or complete enough. An impulse to write more solely because it seems like there should be more.

It is an example of what I consider the verbal equivalent of the fear of empty space, the unconscious – and often conscious – need to fill in or occupy empty space in visual art and design.

At the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) he is a research colleague.

That's all the information meant to be shared and all the information that needs to be shared; but the sentence seems, feels, somehow incomplete, inadequate, needing something more to give sufficient weight to justify its existence. Thus there is tacked on to the sentence the somewhat silly and syntactically clumsy

. . . and thought of in complementary terms.

It might be argued that the same impulse can be seen in the first two sentences of the introduction.

Cormac McCarthy is best known to the world as a writer of novels.

That's the end of the thought. There is no need for more. But there was nonetheless felt a need enough to add a second sentence, a rather silly sentence considering the already attested to fame of Cormac McCarthy – he is after all "known to the world."

These include Blood Meridian, All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, and The Road.

Did we need the added list of titles for the first sentence to work? Or is it there because the general term "novels" opens the door for specificity, and we just have to walk through it?

Look at the introduction without the extra bits:

Cormac McCarthy is best known to the world as a writer of novels. At the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) he is a research colleague.

Look at how well they work together. To the world McCarthy is a writer of novels. At SFI he is a research colleague. Unfortunately, that extra material got in the way of the elegant, core thought.

It is the natural tendency to fill empty space. Children will want to use up the whole of the page when drawing their pictures, either by making their subject fill the page or by putting things into the empty space. Musicians have to learn how to hear and use rests. A shelf with only one object on it looks devoid, like it needs more.

Such desire to add to where something needs not be is inherent to writing as well. There is the want to add adjectives to nouns (the foolish workshop-ism forbidding adverbs has grounding in the easily picked up habit of over-using them); the tendency to use adverbial phrases to bridge one sentence to the next (to fill in the empty space between the sentences, a problem I suffer from greatly); the tendency, as seen above, to see short as being incomplete, when short might be all that is needed.

Look at Pound's three principles of imagism. The first is the most tied to the imagist project itself; the other two, however, could – and I would say should – be considered groundwork for anyone's approach to writing verse (and not just verse).

1. Direct treatment of the "thing" whether subjective or objective.
2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.
3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome.

Three principles, three areas of concern: (1) the subject of the text; (3) the sound of the text; and (2) the construction of the text.

I do not believe it is coincidence that Pound's second principle recognizes that all writers have a natural tendency to put too much into the text, and that learning how to write well – both in verse and in prose – is learning to avoid and to get rid all that superfluous material, much of which exists simply because of the ever present want to fill in empty space.


And nothing more needs to be said, so I'll end there.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot

"The Hollow Men" can be found here [link]

some of Eliot's own line periods


Perhaps I move a touch too quickly with this post. In defense my intent here, as with other posts of this nature, is not to argue definitively but to prompt thought.


Seeing a small word – an adverb or pronoun or conjunction – at the end of a line is these days a too reliable cue that the break is unpurposed, in continuation of the previous post that the line carries no sense of a line period, that it is not a constructed line; such words are too frequently strong evidence that the text is not verse at all but prose with line breaks pretending to verse.

Take, as a quick example, and possibly too easy an example, Philip Levine's "The Second Coming," which appears in the February Poetry Magazine, found online here [link]. Out of eight lines, five of them end in small words: "the," "only," "is," "a," and "of." At first glance – indeed at that first "the" – a reader should know that the text is not verse, that it will show little of that fundamental quality of verse, the crafted line.

That the text is shaped does not defeat the assessment, it does not magically turn a prose text into verse. One need only think about the shaping of text in magazine advertisements as cases in point. There is nothing about concrete shape that excludes the possibility of crafting lines, as such


the text

is physically

shaped does not

excuse the author who

desires to write verse from

the requirement of writing lines.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tamburlaine the Great, Pt 1 by Christopher Marlowe

Back from my break. To say, I was able to finish the project for which I had blocked off the time. Which is a good thing. Perhaps the final result was not as good as I had hoped for, but we can't expect the best results every time.

As I said on my last post, initiating the break, I am unsure how I want to proceed with this blog. The longer posts like this one are fun, but can also be laborious. And I would like to try to give more effort to smaller, "spur of the moment" posts, as well as more posts that respond directly to verse. Whether and how I might do that, however, I do not yet know.


the line period


My launching point for this excursion is a moment from T.S. Eliot's "The Blank Verse of Marlowe" (found in The Sacred Wood). There is no reason not to get right to it, so:

The verse accomplishments of Tamburlaine are notably two: Marlowe gets into blank verse the melody of Spenser, and he gets a new driving power by reinforcing the sentence period against the line period. The rapid long sentence, running line into line, as in the famous soliloquies "Nature commended of four elements" and "What is beauty, with my sufferings, then" marks the certain escape of blank verse from the rhymed couplet, and from the elegiac or rather pastoral note of Surrey, to which Tennyson returned.

We will pick up Marlowe shortly. Right now I want to focus on the concept the Eliot brings into his discussion of Marlowe, that of the line period.

It is a wonderful term. It is not synonymous with line break, and the reasons why are important and speak to its general superiority. For a line break can be arbitrarily had. Simply apply a carriage return and, voilĂ , you have a line break. However, a line period – as with the sentence period – speaks to a construction that is attending to far more than the mere question of where the line ends. A sentence period does not exist merely because it marks the end of the sentence. The presence of the period speaks to the nature of the words that precede it – and to the words that follow it in that a period also marks the beginning of a new sentence.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Winter Break

Shows where my mind has been that I meant to post this a week ago.

The ol' blog will be on hiatus for a month or two while I survive the holidays, and work on another slow-going project that I want to dedicate as much time to as possible. Posting this will remove some of the guilt of not fulfilling my self-imposed time constraints.

Looking forward, and I tend to give this blog a look forward every winter, I feel like I've gotten a little too hung up on writing long essays for the blog. Maybe a break will help me find some rhythm for including more frequent, shorter posts. I'm also contemplating a shift in focus back to including more responding to verse found on the web. Though, I'm not at all sure on that, and want to give it a taste test before I go live again.

So, Merry Holidays to everyone. See you on the flip side.