Sonnet I by Fernando Pessoa

Whether we write or speak or do but look
We are ever unapparent. What we are
Cannot be transfused into word or book.
Our soul from us is infinitely far.
However much we give our thoughts the will
To be our soul and gesture it abroad,
Our hearts are incommunicable still.
In what we show ourselves we are ignored.
The abyss from soul to soul cannot be bridged
By any skill of thought or trick of seeming.
Unto our very selves we are abridged
When we would utter to our thought our being.
We are our dreams of ourselves, souls by gleams,
And each to each other dreams of others’ dreams.

35 Sonnets (1918, public domain)

I ran across Fernando Pessoa’s work less than a year ago while browsing the biography section of the library. The Penguin Classic’s cover photo of The Book of Disquiet drew me in, but I wasn’t prepared for the two minds of Pessoa contained within. Arguably Lisbon’s most beloved writer of all time, he invented the term “heteronym” as a way to write as an imaginary character (ultimately creating over 70 of them in his lifetime), each having his own style and voice. But aside from this unique aspect of Pessoa’s writing, the concepts he explores are what strike me most. I typically do not grasp the cadence and meaning of popular poetry; it’s a relief to read someone like Pessoa who uses simple language to describe the thoughts that pour out of him, literally as ink on paper.

A review of Lulu’s book-publishing service

Over the past eight or nine months, I’ve gotten a taste of what I imagine a book editor goes through. My grandpa and I have been secretly working on his memoirs since earlier this year and we’ve finally printed copies of it using Lulu.com. We rushed to get it done so he could purchase 24 copies to give to friends and family for Christmas. When I was researching which self-publishers to use, I couldn’t find many good overviews or photos of Lulu, so hopefully this will be helpful to others doing the same.

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Best of 2010

In 2005, I discovered the annual year-end Fimoculous “Lists” which aggregate as many best-of lists from across the web as possible. Last year, Kottke did something similar with the Best of the Noughties decade in review (it’s still too soon to be debating over that era’s nomenclature). While I’m a little early to be reviewing all of 2010, I feel like I’ve already found my own favorite book, movie, and music releases.

The fireplace

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Book review: Love Is an Orientation

Considering I’m neither queer nor Christian, you may wonder why I would promote a book written by a self-proclaimed “straight, white, conservative, Bible-believing, evangelical male” who is sympathetic to the Queer Question. Even so, Andrew Marin’s Love Is an Orientation strikes me as a brave discussion on the civil rights struggle between various Christian sects and the greater GLBT community in the United States. Impressively, Marin has devoted his entire career to building bridges between these communities.

Love Is an Orientation book
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