Archive for the literature Category

Solitude & Participation, the muses of creativity

Posted in art, film, literature, music, news, philosophy, pop culture, religion, science, tech, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 2, 2011 by Trip Jennings

This is a good refresher on creativity and how to stoke it. I found myself agreeing that the seemingly contradictory combo of solitude and participation are key to stirring up creativity. I do the participation thing. Reporting. Interacting online. Reading books, magazines, newspapers, blogs. The challenge in my world is finding time for solitude. Thanks to Kelly Brewer for posting it on Facebook.

Amplify’d from

Creativity is a nebulous, murky topic that fascinates me endlessly — how does it work? What habits to creative people do that makes them so successful at creativity?

I’ve reflected on my own creative habits, but decided I’d look at the habits that others consider important to their creativity. I picked a handful of creatives, almost at random — there are so many that picking the best would be impossible, so I just picked some that I admire, who came to mind when I thought of the word “creative”.

This was going to be a list of their creative habits … but in reviewing their lists, and my own habits, I found one that stood out. And it stands out if you review the habits and quotes from great creative people in history.



Words matter; words can change the world

Posted in literature, news, philosophy, religion with tags , , , , , on December 16, 2010 by Trip Jennings

I just read to a class of fifth graders. My choice of reading materials: St. Crispen Day’s speech from Henry V, an excerpt of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream exhortation of 1963 and part of Winston Churchill’s Never Surrender radio address from 1940. The message of my talk. Words matter. Words can help change the world. MLK’s I Have a Dream speech Olivier’s performance of St. Crispen’s speech’s radio address

Student protests open window into broader discussion

Posted in art, literature, music, news, philosophy, pop culture, religion, science, tech with tags , , on December 12, 2010 by Trip Jennings

I’ve not paid close attention to the recent protests in Britain beyond reading the headlines and marveling at the shocked faces of Prince Charles and Camilla as angry students attacked their car last week. But a couple of blog posts I read today, admittedly old posts, opened a window into the situation, at least for me. It’s a small window, from a distinct angle. Historical allusions to May 1968, of course, are on display, as is the contention that students are putting to use what they are learning in class. I’m always suspicious of such grand comparisons and pronouncements that students are making the move from theory to praxis. But I found the posts worth reading, not only for the on-the-ground observations but for suggesting ways to think about the protests. this one:

UPDATE: The first URL doesn’t lead you to the essay I read, so I’m posting the address again.


Physical v. metaphysical: where does consciousness (soul) lie?

Posted in literature, philosophy, pop culture, religion, science with tags , , , on December 11, 2010 by Trip Jennings

Where is human consciousness situated? Is there an incorporeal soul? Or is what we think as individual self-hood just synapses firing? These are questions John Morehead raises in a guest column for Religion Dispatches in which he uses AMC’s zombie TV show The Walking Dead as a starting point for a discussion.

For more than a century, and certainly in the past few decades, theologians and philosophers have debated how to integrate new neurological discoveries into theories of consciousness and the various theological attempts to refine the dualistic vision bequeathed to us by the ancients. The fight over where consciousness lies — in the physical or the metaphysical — is centuries old. (See Carl Zimmer’s wonderful book Soul Made Flesh.) Such questions are intriguing, which is one reason I enjoyed this column. Another reason: Morehead uses pop culture as an entre into a serious discussion.

Kung fu ain’t just about kicking someone’s butt

Posted in literature, religion on December 10, 2010 by Trip Jennings

I feel strangely open to the universe after reading this column, a tutorial that juxtaposes, compares and contrasts kung fu philosophy with various western approaches to examining life, the search for absolute truth and what is meant by the words to live the good life. Aristotle, Descartes, Rorty, Derrida, Hadot all make cameos. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Melville on getting past nihilism

Posted in literature, religion, science on December 6, 2010 by Trip Jennings

Here’s a good read from The Stone, the forum for philosophy brought to us by the good people who give us the Opinionator blog at the New York Times. It’s a worthwhile read, just to tease out the inherent tensions the author is getting at. The author touches on a lot of crosscurrents I’ve spent the last few years thinking about given my background, this point in history and the diverse world in which I find myself living.

Pagans, religion and a sense of wonder

Posted in literature, pop culture, religion on September 7, 2010 by Trip Jennings

Last weekend a friend and I attended the annual Albuquerque Pagan Pride Day fair. It was interesting and educational, partly because one of my hobbies is people watching and the crowd easily qualified as watchable.

The smell of string-tied sage and burning incense, the ethereal playing of harper Dave Hoover, not to mention the broadsword replicas and nifty helmets, kept me interested.

The belly dancing was a selling point too, as was watching a local coven bless canned food attendees were asked to bring for a local Unitarian congregation’s food bank.

But something else was at work, something deeper.

The event put me in a reflective mood. Ever since adolescence, it’s what I do after a mind-bending book, a moving film, a new experience. I ponder. Heck, even after a trip to a theme park with my kids sometimes I lapse into reverie. Seems age only has magnified that propensity.

So why drop in on a mixer that was equal parts Wicca fest, Renaissance Fayre and Doomsayers’ road show?

Put another way: Why would a 46-year-old former Southern Baptist with a Master’s of Divinity from a Presbyterian seminary hang out with a crowd of devotees and adherents of alternative beliefs?

Good question.

Maybe it’s my curious nature. Or the allure of the new, at least for me. Or the change of seasons; autumn is my favorite time of year, prompting in me a taking-stock-in-life contemplation.

Could be all of the above. Continue reading