Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

This book is awful, really. As I read it, I felt at once repulsed and fascinated. No matter how ugly this retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth became, no matter how many times I questioned why Lewis even bothered with it, I felt I must finish the reading.

It wasn’t until I reached the final 50 pages that the light began to dawn. Lewis used this pagan myth and transformed it to show the dramatic contrast between sacred and profane love. Never before have I seen a more powerful illustration of self-deception. And this is why I am recommending this book: it is storytelling at its’ finest.

“Lightly men talk of saying what they mean. … When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

--C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Recent Organizational Projects

Sheet Music

Being a music teacher brings many joys. I have the pleasure of helping others experience beauty in new ways, and not only to experience it but also to create new beauties themselves.

Being a music teacher also means having a large library of sheet music. And while this is a great thing, it can also become a problem as storage space becomes scarce. How to organize, store and keep track of all of it is a continual problem I face.

On being prompted by my mother to take charge of the growing piles beside the piano and elsewhere, I finally took some time to add some decency and order to this area of my life.

Here’s how it worked:

I took three file cabinet drawers, and designated one for Piano methods, one for Beginning classical, and one for Advanced music.

My piano methods I organized first by level, then by publisher. So, for example, in the level 2 section I have folders for Alfred, Bastien, Schaum, and Keys for the Kingdom, among others.

The Beginner’s drawer is similarly organized, with the addition of Duets, Christmas and Sacred music by level.

The advanced classical drawer I organized by musical era. (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern) Within each era, I have separate files for composers. (Such as Bach and Chopin) For this particular drawer, I used Legal size folders instead of Letter, because the books tend to be larger.

I’m finished with the project for now, and am enjoying the extra floor space, as well as the ability to find specific books more easily.

Later on, I may consider cataloguing the music electronically, as I have just done for my reading library.


This was a fun project that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, partly out of curiosity to know how many books I own. (Upwards of 330, as of last week) The other reason I wanted to do this was because it has become increasingly hard for me to remember which books I have by particular authors. Now that the list is made, I can sort the books with the click of a button.

Here’s how I did it:

Using Microsoft Excel, I designed a worksheet with 8 columns:

Year (originally) published

It took all of two afternoons to finish typing the data in. Very simple!

Has anyone else tried this project? I’m interested to hear how you went about it. Has anyone organized his or her books on the shelf? I have yet to attempt this, and would be glad for any tips.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tea Box Quotes

Interesting tidbits of literature can be found in many unusual places. These quotes came from some Celestial Seasonings tea packages and went straight into my collection.

"I call architecture frozen music" --Goethe

"The difficult is done at once, the impossible takes a little longer." --Arabian Proverb

"Yesterday is already a dream and tomorrow is only a vision, but today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope." --Sanskrit Proverb

This one is a little longer, but I love the imagery:

"On the train from New Delhi bound for Bombay, a stranger boards, bearing the aroma of spices and exotic teas. His eyes, brown as cinnamon, smile as they slip across my face. He places a worn leather case beside his feet, and I glimpse the aging label that decorates one side. The label bears the image of a majestic elephant--a great, gray, tusky beast adorned in crimson blankets edged with gems. I wonder at this stranger's journey, what tales he might tell if only I dared to ask. The rocking of the train lulls me to a dream-filled sleep, where princes wearing gilded smiles guide elephants across the shifting sands. When I awake, the stranger has departed, leaving me with mystery and the promise of adventures still to come." --Debra Bokur