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My Girl (Terry)

I usually type on my laptop. It's portable and convenient. However, it's also sometimes slow. But I have a fallback for this: a dedicated Slow Computer reading book. In this case, it's The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila. So, when inevitable updates, UPGRADE YOUR AVG NOW!!!! (Looking at you, AVG) and other AMAZING NEW FEATURES come - or when Microsoft wants to, once again, update something

- I ignore the screen, let it do its thing, and read instead.

One of the things I'm really enjoying about my girl Terry, besides that her book is source material, is how painfully honest she is. It's fascinating to read historical accounts from the people who were there, living it. Where else are we going to find first-hand accounts from dark-age Spain from a literate middle-class woman? She's writing over a thousand years ago talking about the everyday-doings of her life.

As modern technology blurbs and cajoles me for my money, I can ignore it and learn, instead.

Just today, as my trusty laptop was once again updating, I learned how Terry liked to read. That's not a big deal for most people living in the West nowadays, but for her time, it was huge! I don't even know if there's a decent modern-day comparison. In her early 20's, Teresa says she only prayed while she read. I don't even know how she did that. For me, and the rest who make a habit of prayer, it's anytime anywhere, 24-7 all you can pray. Not my girl Terry.

Imagine only being able to pray when you're able to read. Imagine most people don't know how to read. Further imagine how of even those who can read, nearly none of them are women. In order to read, you need light and a relatively safe and quiet place. Find me that place for back then.

I mean, for me to be able to read, in our modern age of lights and comfort is like breathing. I would, however, say that while literacy rates are generally on the up and up, comprehension rates are not. Reading Terry's autobiography makes me wonder about her time. Was it the reverse for her then? Were comprehension rates high and literacy rates low? I'm not sure, so I read on.

Lately, I've been taking walks after dark, usually with a dog or three. And while I trundle around the block, I watch the skies and listen to the west wind in the October leaves. The more I commit to being outside, quieting my mind and listening to the world around me, the more and more the world within my mind quiets down too. I live in a world and a time when the practice of mental solitude is about as non-existent as a literate middle-class woman like Teresa of Avila in dark age Spain. All this modern culture makes it hard to hear oneself think, more often than not.

During my last post, I mentioned how I'm re-reading The Hobbit. Tolkien too lived during the cusp of two different Times. One which was still more or less centered around rural agriculture, thrown against an ever-growing relief of industrialism (maybe 'relief' isn't the right word here...).

Even now, we live in a Time when the roar of our own modern culture drowns out our own mental comprehension. Social media seems less about being social, and more about how violated our online privacy can become. We live in a time of masses and mobs. We live in a time where thought and art are rife with consumerism hell-bent on dollars and taxes.

I like reading books from people around or just before Tolkien's time for the very reason that a whisper and a ghost of a more quiet zeitgeist persist. Spending times wandering the pages from minds of simpler times is refreshing. When the creation of books were still semi-rare miracles full of meaningful thoughts and observations instead of market trends.

I'm not jaded, I swear.

I was reading more Hobbit last night. I put on an 8Tracks playlist which I think was made sometime during or right after the Lord of the Rings movie release. And it was genuinely rapturous to hear songs from musicians other than the movie soundtrack. It was a joy to hear variety other than the copyrighted exclusive Hollywood end-alls. It was moving to hear works from other small-time fans.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is go outside more often. Read from more than just recommendations on Goodreads and Bookbub every now and again. Set aside regular quiet time to read and hear yourself think. Heck, maybe even hear someone else think from long ago and far away. If you're lucky, you just might hear what they're saying. While you're out walking, you just might hear what the west wind has to say to the trees or why the crickets are singing.

Allowing ourselves to feel and reason with our own algorithm-less senses is good for the soul.

- Ryan



- THIS Saturday, October 13th at Badger Cheese Haus in down town Hannibal is the Hannibal Writers Guild's next meeting. We'll be hosting Patty Carothers of Metamorphosis Literary Agency at 5:30p, after our usual round-table critiques. If you're in the area, come check it out!

- Beginning next week on Tuesday, October 16th, and every Tuesday for the rest of October, I'm hosting NaNoWriMo Prep workshops at the Quincy Public Library at 6p. Whether you're brand-new to November's National Novel Writing Month or are already a tried and true veteran, here's an excellent opportunity to get your mind and hands ready!

- Beginning in November, the Hannibal Writers Guild will be hosting O.M's at Quincy Books! (Open Mic Nights). Here's a great fun chance to share your writing and poetry in public. (it's also an excellent way to enhance your writing, by reading it aloud). The Hannibal Writers Guild will be making O.M's a monthly thing, so come ready each first Tuesday at 6p.

- Wednesdays in November, I'll be hosting NaNoWriMo Write-Ins at Quincy Public Library at 6p! Come for the company, stay for the word-counts!

- Thursdays in November, the Hannibal Writers Guild will also be hosting NaNoWriMo Write-Ins at Quincy Books starting at 5p. Here's another excellent way to make writer friends while getting that novel done!

- On November 17th I'll be down at Main Street Books in St Charles, MO from 2-4p for the release of my Illustrated and coloring book version of The Trombonist of Munst! If you loved my zany short story the first time, the second time around will be even better! It makes an excellent Christmas present, too (if I do say so myself).

- On Black Friday, I'll be hosting yet another Illustrated/coloring book release for The Trombonist of Munst back up at Quincy Books! Stay tuned for the time, as I'm still working it out with them.

(Whew! I think I got all of it!)

As always, you can purchase any and all of my fantasy books right off my website!

Thanks, everyone!

- Ryan


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