- a complimentary copy of Handbook Of Whiteheadian Process Thought, a German-produced, Belgian- and Irish-edited volume (in English!) for which I contributed an article on theological anthropology titled "Communities and Destinies";
- the posting of my Society of Biblical Literature presentation from last November, "The Bible-Shaped Mirror: Biblical Women and Contemporary Culture in Recent Film" (on the presentation of Mary and Esther in the 2006 films The Nativity Story and One Night With The King) in the online journal SBL Forum.
There's so much text in the world and it's so overwhelmingly available (even thrust upon one unasked-for) that it's hard to remember how miraculous writing is, and how noble the calling of the writer should be considered. I tend to reconnect with that magic at lunchtime on weekdays, when I go get a Tropical Smoothie chicken habernero wrap and read whatever I'm currently reviewing.
Today it was Jamie James' nonfiction book The Snake Charmer: A Life And Death In Pursuit Of Knowledge. As I read about Joe Slowinski's fanatic love of naturalism and herpetology, culminating in a (surprisingly rare) science-related snakebite in the wilds of Burma, I frequently glance up and out the window, at the cloud-chased sky and the passing cars and the McDonald's across the street. Good writing -- illuminating, revealing, humane writing -- enchants the world.
Every time I feel like my dailyblogging, my blogs and reviews for the A.V. Club, my academic work, my administrative memos and handbooks and policies and so forth, are all Byzantine wheelspinning, far removed from anything that actually matters a damn ... I read something that lights up the world like stained glass, and I remember that language turns the chaos of experience into a cosmos that can be communicated. And that's a power not to be disparaged. Indeed, it may be the fundamental power of consciousness.