A Virtual Colloquy - What are YOU reading?!

Category: Book Quote Commentary Page 1 of 18

This Book Makes Reading Nonfiction More Gratifying

Reading nonfiction quote on book cover background.

“Let’s suppose that the worst thing you can do when reading nonfiction is to believe everything you read is true. What’s the second worst? Not believing any of it.”

How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor

I have always enjoyed reading nonfiction.

From histories and biographies to sociology and philosophy, but this book made reading nonfiction even better. In fact, it could very easily be on my required reading list when I take over the world. Maybe because it’s non-fiction, but I’m finding it difficult to pull a single quote from this book to illustrate any simple idea. It’s all connected and the book in general illuminated something big for me. I think I’ll attempt to sum that up, but I highly recommend reading it. It was not a complicated read and really made me feel better about the world and our current “information” age instead of worse.

I’m not sure what I love most, classic fiction or non-fiction. I love classic literature. I get so much peace from reading about other worlds, real and imagined. It’s not only an escape into another time but a way to understand people, how they might think, how the world could be better, how we could behave or maybe how we should behave, if things were different. The older books, the ones that have survived the test of time, show me how people used to live, what they thought of the world they lived in or imagined. Adventures are my favorite.

Non-fiction, though, intrigues me. I can learn so much. Philosophy and history are my favorites, and that’s what you would think a book about reading non-fiction would focus on. The idea of newspapers, magazines, blogs, and social media being listed as “non-fiction” never even occurred to me. This book not only gave me some inspiration and direction about reading those, but it put a new (for me) spin on biography and history, too.

I had a few big take-aways from this book. I made the following table to illustrate the ideas.

Reporting: newspapers (some social media): a rough draft of history and events: immediate
Arguing: magazines: add context and current thought: more time needed
Perspective: books:
begin to get closer to truth as we add more information over time

Inside each of these are even more divisions. There is spin, slant, bias, whatever you want to call it, in everything we read. Not everything we read is true. Not everything we see is useful. We have to use some discernment when we read, not only with the daily information that we come across in the news media, but magazines and published books too.

That starts with knowing our own bias (yes, you have them, we all do) and those of the author of what you’re reading. It’s not easy, but to be a citizen of a self-governing nation, it’s imperative that we think for ourselves. This book can help.

I underlined and noted so much in this book. I went back through, like I always do, and put markers on pages I thought I’d pull quotes from and write about here. I began with the graphic I made for this post, which led me to another quote, yet I can’t pull it apart. I wish I could, but it seems like I’m only rewriting what he said but in less coherent ways.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, if I ruled the world, this may be required reading. It’s not hard to read, isn’t depressing, and is extremely enlightening about how we can be wiser about how we use information in our daily lives. Want to be a more informed person? Want to do your part to make the world a better place? It would be a great start to read this book.


This was the first book I started a new blog series on! If you’d like to read my original post, go read “New Read: “How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor”

If you’d like to read the book or more from the author, go check out his blog at Thomas C. Foster.

And, as always, scoot on over to What’s An Autobibliography? to sign up for my monthly What in the World is She Reading newsletter. Every time I finish a book, I close it and tap out a paragraph of whatever comes to mind, tie them all together at the end of the month and send it to you, my curious readers, as an exclusive for those that opt in by signing up for it. You won’t regret it!

I Am A Writer. What’s your Superpower?

Writing Superpower quote with book cover on desert background.

“It feels powerful to him to put an experience down in words, like he’s trapping it in a jar and it can never fully leave him.”

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I’m a writer. In the past I wouldn’t have made a statement like that. I’m not published. I don’t have a huge following. I don’t write books, fiction or non-fiction. My blog posts…well…what can I say? I have tried my hand at few short stories this past year. It’s something I didn’t realize would bring me so much joy.

It may be one of those flawed super powers that seems cool, might be useful for something, but usually just looks silly or gets you into more trouble than its worth. But I am a writer. I always have been.

I have a box in my room filled with journals, the oldest of which dates back to 1984. I was twelve years old. I was also an avid letter writer when I was a kid. A box of old letters from pen pals, friends that had moved away, proves that.

Do all writers keep things like this?!

The things I choose to keep prove that I am a writer (and a reader) deep down in my soul. Books, journals, letters, photo albums, maps, postcards, etc. fill my shelves all over the house. I even have all the calendars and planners I’ve had over the past twenty-five years, filled with notes about who was where and when, what was made for dinner, and what was spent on what.

I plan on torturing my children with this treasure trove of information someday. When they harass me about my habits, I laughingly tell them that someday the electronic world will disappear and all that will be left of life in early 21st century will be my written archive. Then who will laugh?!

When I walk around my neighborhood, or go for hikes with friends and family, I make up quick stories about the things we see and where we are. “This tree root looks like it’s hatching a rock egg.” “What if we pretended that we were time travelers and asked people what year it was?” “This trail leads to Hobbits.” I’m happiest when I’m with people that will add to the story, not laugh at it as if it were an odd thing to do. Now I’m thinking I should write down and expand on some of those tales.

Unlike the character in the book, I don’t write things down to capture them. It honestly depends on my mood and what I’m writing. I’m attempting to communicate; sometimes with myself (future and past), sometimes with others, sometimes with my family and friends.

Everything I write, including this blog, is simply me trying to understand myself and the world around me, even the fiction. I physically write it down, and share my thoughts here with you, in the hopes that someone out there can benefit from it. I don’t want someone to read my work and think, “Oh! That’s what I am going to do!” I’m not attempting to be anyone’s “guru” in this world.

Ultimately, I’d love it if someone that reads me understands me, considers my thought process, and maybe gleans something from it that makes their life just a little bit nicer.

My superpower is attempting to communicate ideas through the written word. I may not be a proficient one, but I am a writer. I always have been, and I always will be.


If you’d like to go back and read my thoughts on this book from the beginning, start at my post New Read: Normal People.

You can find “Normal People” by Sally Rooney on Amazon.

My monthly newsletter highlights my immediate after-thoughts about the books I read the previous month. You can sign up for that awesome email at the link on the right or by hopping over to my Autobibliography page. Once you opt-in, you’ll receive one email a month only available to my email followers…mmm…so exclusive!

What Did My Book Blog Accomplish in 2020?

That’s it! A book blog!

I think I’ve found my niche! Until this year, I didn’t even know a “book blog” was a thing and here I am a crushing it. Ok, well maybe “crushing” isn’t the right word, but I’m definitely onto something important. An impending empty nest feeling has been making me uncomfortable enough to seek out some new endeavors.

How can I combine my love of reading with my obsession for making lists? Can I use my curiosity and my love of written communication to convey my crazy thoughts about the books I read and the world around me? Sure! Why not?!

This is year four of keeping track of the books I read, and I have to say this year’s numbers were a little bit disappointing. I thought I spent way more time with my face in a book that the previous year, but I guess I was wrong. Of course, this doesn’t include time I spent in magazines and online articles, so maybe that’s what I was feeling.

20172018 20192020
31 books49 books 71 books71 books
376.24 hours432.05 hours 694.95 hours652.13 hours
10,133 pages14,309 pages 23,948 pages22,087 pages
1.03 hours per day1.84 hours per day 1.9 hours per day1.79 hours per day
12.14 hours per book8.82 hours per book 9.79 hours per book9.18 hours per book
I love making tables!

To put a positive spin on things, I may have spent slightly less time reading but I did increase my writing and posting time, so I’m not too upset. Writing more consistently was another goal of mine for 2020 and I did improve my stats there. Maybe I should start keeping a journal about that!

A screen shot of my book blog statistics.
Screen shot of the relevant blog stats.

In the final months of the year, I finally found a good rhythm of reading, writing, and posting and it has continued into this year. It’s exciting to see slow and steady improvement and I’m looking forward to seeing grown over the coming months.

Unlike last year, I didn’t spend New Year’s gathering up the books I read and making a big pile. I planned on it. I told my husband I would. “I’ll gather them, count them, and lay among them reminiscing about the past” is what I told him. He looked at me so strangely. I showed last year’s post and my notebook to a friend and explained to him how fun it was hunting all those books down. He was confused and maybe a little frightened as well.

But it wasn’t the fear of being strange that stopped my egg hunt this New Year’s but the insistence that we do something normal for the holiday. For the first time in many years, we had a gathering of sorts. Booze was consumed. Pool was played. Food was eaten. And much to my disbelief, we made it past midnight! It was…DECENT in all the worst ways.

I guess we had a little too much fun because we’re already a third into January and I’m finally getting to one of my favorite posts of the year. Yesterday, I spent a few hours thumbing through my journals, making lists, and smiling at old posts.

A physical journal of my book blog stats!

Yes, I know there are apps for this but what fun would that be?! I’ve tried it before and found that I only obsess and get stressed out when I watch my average in real time, or notice that others on the app are “doing better” than I am. I read at my own pace. It’s not a race but a daily habit, a personal journey. My stats are just for me to reflect on…and show you so you know how truly weird I am. Besides, I love paper and intend to keep using it!

Something about the tactile holding of bound paper, the pen in my fingers, the smooth glide of a great pencil on paper…HOT!

Here’s this year’s breakdown by genre…

Fiction: 33Non-Fiction: 39
Sci-Fi: 3 Essays:1
YA Novel: 4History: 5
Romance: 1Politics: 1
Novel: 11Memoir/Biography:6
Thriller: 2Writing/Reading:7
Historical Fiction: 1Science (Philo.,Sociol.,Psycho.): 8
Plays: 1Mythology/Religion: 3
DNF (Did Not Finish): 2Self-Help: 7

Personal Observation: I’m all over the place in genre! I’d say I’d change that in the coming year and focus, but…not going to happen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I read what I like, what interests me at the moment. Following rabbit holes is my style and I’m not giving it up!

Besides that, take a look at my 2021 TBR pile! It’s overflowing!

2021's book blog TBR pile
2021's book blog TBR pile

For years I have had a running wish list on Amazon, books I’m planning on reading someday. I’m thinking about changing that this year. The wish list is long, and I find myself losing track of things, which books are related to what and how they got to my list. I need a better system, preferably one that involves a physical notebook…of course!

In the past, I have allowed myself only one shelf of TBR books. My unread books lay flat on that shelf to remind me of their unread status. If that shelf is full, I can’t buy more books. It keeps me honest. I’m not a book collector, I’m a book READER!

This year, amazingly enough, something changed. A friend planned on selling and donating her library while she got ready to move out of state, but her house sold more quickly than she had anticipated, so she called me to help. I have never felt so honored in my life. Name a child after me? A town? Give me the keys to the city? Means nothing to me. Tell me that you trust that I’ll take care of getting an enormous pile of books into the right hands? I had to sit down and take minute to collect myself.

Two truckloads of books found themselves on my front porch. It was glorious. The possibilities! Of course, I combed through them all, putting them in piles, shaking them out and organizing them into boxes by genre. I found over eighty books to keep for myself, many of which were already on my wish list, were by authors I already love, or about subjects I am currently interested in. Those are the books you see in the pictures. Since I only read about 70 books a year, 2021’s reading dance card is full.

What I will do with the rest is still being debated. They are safe for now. Some have already found homes, but the majority are still homeless as we speak. I have some ideas floating around about what I can do with them. That’s part of the fun!

So…what’s in store for 2021? More reading. More writing. Less worrying. Less fussing over details. My youngest child leaves the nest in a few weeks, for university in another state. I’ll have even more time to sit around and cry…I mean, read and write! You’ll see! It’s going to be an epic year!

Each month I send out a newsletter highlighting my immediate after-thoughts about the books I read the previous month. You can sign up for that awesome email by hopping over to my Autobibliography page. Once you opt-in, you’ll receive a special edition only available to my email followers…mmm…so exclusive!

Can We Find Human Connection in an Irritating Sound?

Human connection quote from book with book cover on desert background.

“After the meal another grace is recited, with the ugly noise of chairs pulled back from the tables.”

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I found a human connection through an irritating sound. My sons believe only I can do that. So profound, right?

Just think. Does anyone in the world (other that people with no chairs at tables anywhere in their culture) not know that sound? And why is it so ugly? I heard it immediately and cringed. “Pull your chair back gently, people! Please!”

I sat and thought about other sounds like that, one’s that anyone would instantly recognize as universally bothersome. I couldn’t think of any but “nails on a chalkboard” but that’s beginning to be unrecognizable these days. A personal one is “fingers run on wrapped guitar strings.” Even writing it makes my teeth hurt and my hair stand up.

Relatable Feelings Create a Human Connection

I loved this book for all the recognizable feelings it brought up, many of which we hide away or refuse to recognize; loss, rejection, physical desire, the urge to connect with another person on a deeper level. I didn’t like it at first. It hurt and I was afraid it wouldn’t end well. I need some good endings right now, the ones that give me hope for the future, the ones that make me think, “You see? This person gets it!”

It did. Don’t worry. It wasn’t pleasant reading, but it was touching, and I didn’t close it thinking, “Well, shit.” It’s listed as a good book in my library.

Back to the quote for a minute! Because I’m reading a book about reading literature, I noticed something interesting about this sentence, and the paragraph leading into it.

He’s in the dining hall at university, going through the motions as a student, feeling a bit lonely. Everyone else seems to go along like everything is as it should be. No one looks deeply. No one actually does the reading assigned in classes. They simply skip over the surface of life.

Meals. You file in, get your food, sit at a table. Quiet moment, grace is said, eat, finish, grace is said again…scrape…activity resumes.

Why do most of us live this way? And, a question I continue to ask myself, how can you stand it?! Why am I strange for “overthinking,” asking questions, looking for answers, and hoping for connections? The moment I think I’m beginning to get somewhere with another human being…scrape…the chairs push back and everyone keeps on keeping on in the way they all have all their lives.

Step outside the loop. Do things your way, at your own pace. Do the things that make you happy. Ask the big questions of others and yourself. The what and how are much easier than getting into the why, but the why questions are what human connections are made up of.


If you’d like to go back and read my thoughts on this book from the beginning, start at my post New Read: Normal People.

You can find “Normal People” by Sally Rooney on Amazon.

My monthly newsletter highlights my immediate after-thoughts about the books I read the previous month. You can sign up for that awesome email at the link on the right or by hopping over to my Autobibliography page. Once you opt-in, you’ll receive one email a month only available to my email followers…mmm…so exclusive!

The School System is Oppressive for a Reason

School system feels oppressive quote from book and book cover on desert background.

“Marianne’s classmates all seem to like school so much and find it normal. To dress in the same uniform every day, to comply at all times with arbitrary rules, to be scrutinized and monitored for misbehavior, this is normal to them. They have no sense of the school as an oppressive environment.”

Normal People by Sally Rooney

The school system we have is not the best way to create a responsible and independent population.

Speaking out against the public school system is unpopular, I know. I usually get even fewer likes when I speak my mind here. But hear me out, please. What we are currently doing (and have been for nearly 100 years) isn’t working. That old cliché definition of insanity comes to mind.

I pulled this quote out because it reminded me of my own experience in high school and my feeling when I talk to parents that send their kids to school. In fact, it reminds me of how I feel when I talk to kids in high school, or that have just left it.

I was good at the system. I was able to work my way through public school in the 80’s and get good grades, make some friends, and start university. But I felt like I as living a lie, walking among zombies that didn’t realize there was a world outside what we were being forced to live until we were 18 or completed so many credits. Why was I different?

I don’t believe controlling other people from birth to death is the way we create order out of chaos. I’ve heard time and time again, if you don’t teach a child that you are bigger and stronger than them, the authority in all things, while they are small and fragile, they’ll walk all over you when they get into their teens and are bigger than you, capable of walking away from your control. It sounds so perverse.

It’s the same with schools today. I’ve heard parents tell me that you need to put your children in daycare early so that they learn to fit in to the system once they get to school age. Children that have not been corralled from early age have a harder time settling into the mold of school days.

A young person, fresh out of high school at 18 years old, scoffed at the fact that my son (her boyfriend) must have been too lazy to finish high school. He didn’t get the same education as she did and would probably never fully understand the system of merely making good grades and completing checklists instead of engaging in and learning from the material and teachers he came across at college. He was 16 and taking the same classes as her, helping her with her math assignments and holding a job.

When people see us, our children, and our lifestyle, some say, “Sure, that’s fine for you but other people need the control of an authority.” Do they? Or have they been trained from birth to believe that they do?

Some people have met us and have told me, “Wow. Your sons are so happy and intelligent. They seem like full-fledged people, not teenagers.” Their next comment is usually that we must have had a strong hand on them, kept them out of trouble, restricted them from video games and cellphones. It was the opposite. They have grown up being respected as individuals, with their own needs and wants, the ultimate authority of themselves, even when we thought they were crazy. We worked together to make living together comfortable. They grew up treating us the same way.

It wasn’t easy. Every decision, every change, every stage of life has to be thought about and evaluated to some degree. Negotiation so that everyone’s needs are met is impossible sometimes. And sometimes we failed miserably. We were learning too, not just the kids. Ultimately, now that the youngest is leaving home, I think it worked out well overall, more positive than negative.

The quote above, Marianne’s feeling about the school environment she is in, it’s legitimate. Raising large groups of people in controlled environments where they have no choice but to attend and obey is oppressive. It brainwashes people into believing that they are not capable of living outside a set of parameters set by someone else.

And that, my friends, is bullshit. We can all live exactly as we please. That doesn’t mean I have to live next to you or with you and agree with you, but it does mean you have the right and the ability to make your own choices, ones that serve you and your needs alone.

Stop raising humans as herd animals and start treating them as independent sentient beings from the moment they are born and we’ll begin to see civilization flourish in ways you can’t imagine.


If you’d like to go back and read my thoughts on this book from the beginning, start at my post New Read: Normal People.

You can find “Normal People” by Sally Rooney on Amazon.

My monthly newsletter highlights my immediate after-thoughts about the books I read the previous month. You can sign up for that awesome email at the link on the right or by hopping over to my Autobibliography page. Once you opt-in, you’ll receive one email a month only available to my email followers…mmm…so exclusive!

Will the negative effects of social media destroy civilization?

Social media quote from Ready Player Two on book cover background.
The second of only two posts on this book!

“A world where people don’t go outside and touch each other anymore? Where everyone sleeps their lives away while reality collapses all around them?
Sometimes I think my parents are better off. They don’t have to live in this utopia you’ve all created.”

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

I honestly (most of the time) don’t believe the negative effects of social media and the internet will destroy the world as we know it, but I was in a bleak mood when I wrote this, so prepare yourselves. I’m not always this pessimistic, but lately, I’ve felt overwhelmed. I try to assume positive intent. I attempt to see things from a different perspective. But man…when everywhere I look (and I’ve been off social media for over a month now, mostly just looking at the physical world around me) all I see are zombies. I want to scream…WAKE UP!

Maybe I need some new friends? A new location? One of my sons has been out in the world recently. His reports come back positive for the most part. My youngest leaves for university in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to hearing his perspective of a whole new world.

Can we overcome the negative side of social media and use it in positive ways?

I can’t think of how to put this into words. This line just killed me. In fact, the whole book was overwhelmingly sad to me and not because I’m a technology hater. I love the internet. I loved social media, until the past couple of years. I see so much potential, so much to create with it.

But it seems the Ready Player Two characters are only reliving the past through virtual reality, escaping into old movies and music, instead of using the new medium to create and collaborate. I’d hoped the second book would build on the first. I’d hoped that the first book had taught humanity a lesson and that the second would be creative in showing us how we could build on this new technology in innovative and exciting ways. I wanted to see Lazarus soar to the skies with his new wings, with the lesson learned about flying too close to the sun.

Maybe they’re right. Maybe the internet is what ends up destroying us. We just can’t have nice things.


Have you read Ready Player Tw0? Did you read Ready Player One? Or watch the movie? Comment and let me know what you think!

Read my previous post about Ready Player Two, Reality is Not the Curated Fragments of Life in the Media.

If you’re interested in my monthly reading newsletter, where I describe all my juicy immediate afterthoughts of the books I read, along with various other hilarious tidbits, subscribe by signing up for it on my Autobibliography page!

Reality is Not The Curated Fragments of Life in the Media

Curated fragments of life quote with book cover background.

“Now instead of following their favorite celebrity on social media, ONI users could become their favorite celebrity for a few minutes each day. Exist inside their skin. Live short, heavily curated fragments of far more glamourous lives.”

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

Let’s put an emphasis on “heavily curated fragments” and talk about that for a few paragraphs, shall we?

In the “Earl,” that’s what they call IRL (in real life) in the book, we all project a curated image as we move through our daily lives. At work, at the grocery store, at the playground with other parents, etc., people mostly see what we want them to see. We don’t walk around with our life story on our sleeves for everyone to see.

The more time we spend with people though, the more they know us and our secrets, the things we try to keep from the public eye. We don’t hide them for nefarious reasons. We’re not hidden criminals…I hope…mostly. We all have a public and a private image.

Inevitably, those small quirks that make us unique, or those bad habits we try to hide from public view, slip out into the Earl from time to time. We react badly to an offense. Our children thrash our last nerve. A rough day at the office turns into road rage on the way home, the middle finger goes up, harsh words are spoken. It happens. But we quickly return to our persona.

At home, with our closest family and friends, we are a different person. Our guard goes down and we are more ourselves.

On the internet, social media especially? How much more so? How many different personalities do have? How many “heavily curated fragments” of ourselves do we present? It depends on the individual. Celebrities, politicians, people that depend on public favor, I’m sure have a lot of work to do maintaining an image that doesn’t do them damage.

You can’t please everyone all the time.

Humans are flawed. We make mistakes. We ruin things and create messes with people. That doesn’t make us bad people, but when you’re trying to sell an image…well…it’s best to curate one that is appetizing to as many people as possible.

But what about us “normal”? I’m not selling an image to my family and friends. Or am I? This blog is one curated image that I project to the public. It’s certainly not all of me on the page. There are other sides of me that are my private thoughts, though it may seem like you’re getting all of me.

And escaping from dull reality into fiction isn’t a new thing. We used to tell stories, then read books, listen to the radio, watch movies, and then tv.  We have always wondered what someone else’s life would be like and assumed that it would be better or more exciting than our own. It usually isn’t.

What if we could see our own lives curated in the same way? Would we be jealous of ourselves and wish to escape into that life?


Have you read Ready Player Tw0? Did you read Ready Player One? Or watch the movie? Comment and let me know what you think!

If you’re interested in my monthly reading newsletter, where I describe all my juicy immediate afterthoughts of the books I read, along with various other hilarious tidbits, subscribe by signing up for it HERE!

Knowing You Have Consciousness – What Awareness Really Is

Knowing Consciousness quote with book cover background.
Last post from this glorious little book!

“The Buddha is one awakened to identity not with the body but with the knower of the body, nor with the thought but the knower of the thoughts, that is to say, with consciousness; knowing, furthermore, that his value derives from his power to radiate consciousness – as the value of a lightbulb derives from its power to radiate light.”

Myths to Live By” by Joseph Campbell

You could have seen the “lightbulb” go on over my head when I read that sentence. It hit me that hard.

“Awareness” is quite the buzzword these days, but I don’t think it’s for the right reasons.

It’s more important to people to be “aware” of whatever atrocities they were told by their leaders they were supposed to be outraged by. It’s hip to be “aware” of what we do or do not possess, how we present ourselves, or what image we promote with our online presence, i.e., being sure we have a washable mask on when we take our selfies or putting a temporary frame around our social media profile declaring our political allegiances.

But is that the “awareness” that counts?

Personally, I think it’s far more important to be self-aware, not in a “Do I look fat in this outfit?” or “Does my comment come off as racist?” kind of way, but more like this description of the Buddha. We should become aware of our consciousness, that we are not a body or a thought, but that we have a body and thoughts.

When we achieve this kind of awareness, our demeanor changes. We radiate that consciousness toward the world around us. When we find the inner peace that comes from the awareness of our consciousness, we suddenly increase in value to this world. We are not simply decorating the space with our presence but creating more for the room and those within our reach.

A dead lightbulb, or one supplied with no power, does nothing but take up space. Add power and suddenly it lights up the room, illuminating what’s in and making life easier for everyone that can see it. That could be each and every one of us. When we find the thing that powers us, we add value to the world around us. That is what “awareness” really is, consciousness of who we are.

Want to read this book? You can get it on Amazon HERE.
Read more of my thoughts about quotes from this book:
Are Our Cultural Differences Becoming Less Important?
Women Are Equal in Nature and Need as Men, Not the “Same As”
Using Words: Is the Art of Communication Lost

Using Words: Is the Art of Communication Lost?

The art of communication and the legend of the Tower of Babel quote on a desert background.

“…the world is faced in fact with the problems mythologically represented in the Bible legend of the builders of the Tower of Babel, when the Lord so confused men’s tongues that they had to abandon the building of their secular city and scatter…
Only there is no room today into which we might scatter away from each other; and just there, of course, is the rub and special problem of our age.”

Myths to Live By” by Joseph Campbell

And, again, this was written fifty years ago, before the 24-hour news cycle, before the internet, before social media.

Is the art of communication lost?

Time and time again I wonder, with all the new ways to communicate, why do we still not understand each other? Lately it feels as though we aren’t even trying.

Words are tricky things. They don’t always mean the same thing to everyone. Even if we’re both speaking English, we come from different backgrounds, different context gives words different meanings. Throw in a translation from a different language, some emotional words, a few cultural references, and you have a mess.

Public discourse as a communication tool?

The internet is proving to be no place to communicate with other humans, especially in an open forum with a large group of strangers. You may as well stand on the floor of New York Stock Exchange and start asking questions.

Communication isn’t about simply speaking our minds, telling our side of the story, writing out our version of events, our wants and needs. It’s more about listening and asking questions. With so many people making noise, it’s hard to hear what’s being said, even when we get a chance to ask.

What about personal communication?

Admittedly, I’ve never been a good listener. I forget to ask questions. When I do remember, I’m often an impatient listener. I’m not hearing what’s being said and thinking about it, I’m listening for words that trigger my own thoughts and remembrances. I rarely walk away from a conversation knowing more about people than that they seemed to like my stories or not.

I want to do better. Something I’m currently reading is helping me with one simple idea: have compassion. Walking through this world remembering that everyone I see is a human being with the same basic wants and needs as I do: to be seen and heard.

We can’t work together until we can communicate effectively. And we can’t communicate effectively until we can have compassion for the people around us. That communication starts with one person stopping to listen, ask questions, and hear the human behind the words.


Want to read this book? You can get it on Amazon HERE.
Read more of my thoughts about quotes from this book:
Are Our Cultural Differences Becoming Less Important?
Women Are Equal in Nature and Need as Men, Not the “Same As”

Women Are Equal in Nature and Need as Men, Not the “Same As”

Mythic woman quote on desert background.

“The woman is immediately mythic in herself and is experienced as such, not only as the source and giver of life, but also of the magic of her touch and presence.”

Myths to Live By” by Joseph Campbell

Women are Equal, Not the Same

I know it’s an unpopular idea, but I believe it’s true. Most of the problems of modern civilization can be traced back to the loss of the memory of who we are. Feminism has gotten us lost attempting to be the same as men, instead of equal in nature and need as a man. Instead of balancing the scales with male and female attributes and contributions, we have crowded all into one cup and knocked the whole natural system out of whack.

All Animals Have Evolved (or Created)
as Male and Female

We should not feel subjugated by the differences between the sexes but empowered. A goddess is not a lesser form of a god, but an equal power that balances out another. Two is always stronger than one. And three? Well…let’s not get into that right now.

We have so forgotten our true mythic nature that we even tear down other women when we feel they are stepping out of the line. Feminists tear down traditionalists. Career women tear down housewives. Mothers tear down the intentionally childless. Lesbians tear down straight women. Chosen sex against birth sex. The list goes on and on, and the violence against the other goes both ways in all instances.

Instead of seeing our fellow goddesses as they are, we see them as competitors, a threat to our own very personal choices. Why?

Have we completely forgotten who we are? Unadorned and untutored, we are capable of so much power. We can heal with a touch, move others with a look. For crying out loud, we can bring forth other humans and feed them! And yet, here we are making ourselves small.

No one took our power away. At some point we began to give it away and continue to do so. We have taught each succeeding generation that they have no power by attacking and ridiculing any one of us that attempts to take that power back.

How do we take that power back? It cannot be by belittling men, attempting to be like them, removing them from our lives, or treating them as an enemy. As a society, I’m not sure where we could start. I only know that whatever we’re doing right now isn’t working, at least not for me.

For me, I’ve started with accepting myself as a natural being, one that has flaws and weakness that can also be strengths. I’m getting older and not hiding it. I’m a bit chubby, I’ve had children and it shows. That’s a good thing. I’m a sexual being and that’s ok, even if my parents and children are uncomfortable with that. I’ve started reading myths about the feminine from different cultures across time. I want to learn how other cultures in the past have interpreted the feminine. How do they differ? How can it shape my thinking and improve my self-image? I wish I had started this journey earlier, but maybe I did, unconsciously at first.

I’ll add one more thing before I go. I don’t hate men. In fact, I love them, possibly a little too much. I do wish more men (and women) could respect a powerfully feminine woman. What’s my definition of a powerful woman? One that knows her natural power, secure in who she is, she gives to and takes from the world around her in ways no one else can. She intentionally chooses her path, takes her time, and enjoys what comes of it fully. Other people’s opinions matter to her, but not at the cost of losing herself. She accepts others just as they are, as she does herself. She loves passionately, sings loudly, dances wildly, and stands her ground.

I am woman. I am the other side of the balance of life. And I will not be quiet about it.


Want to read this book? You can get it on Amazon HERE.
Read more of my thoughts about quotes from this book:
Are Our Cultural Differences Becoming Less Important?

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