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980Belfast blog: Bansky art, writing stuff, celebrating life

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  • Jon Kennedy
    Jan 22, 2014
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      Click here to read online with graphics

      The following is the text only from today's blog.


      Today's Scripture: . . . "Every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny him before my Father who is in heaven. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. . . . And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first."
      — From the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 10,
      from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
      See the homiletical thought below.

      Today's diary
      Today's weather is a cross between Monday's and Tuesday's, partly sunny, partly drizzly. I got to Townsend Presbyterian when the drizzle was holding back, and though it was gray, the photo ops were excellent. So without additional delay, here's a refresher view of Monday's picture of the portion of the "peace wall" bearing the name of an artist of some reknown, "Bansky."

      Next is a view of the whole "peace wall" as it is seen adjacent to Townsend Presbyterian from the "nationalist" side, a wide view created out of three shots I took today and stitched together as an auto-awesome panorama by Google+...

      And finally, a closer look at the mural. Does it look to you like a genuine Bansky (the samples linked from Goodle images may or may not, in some instances, be "genuine")? But I looked at enough of them to venture my opinion that this is by the artist.

      The mural shows Townsend Street during a street festival, some time before the troubles, generally dated from the 1970s, and the church is depicted in the upper left corner, and a small portion of the actual building is shown above the wall. The row houses on the right in the mural no longer exist, having been torn down to build a motorway (freeway, in California; expressway in Pennsylvania). That motorway is where these houses' backyards had been, in a machine-made "canyon" dug below the surface skirting Belfast's downtown. The land occupied by the actual former houses are now a carpark (parking lot). The church building was built in the first half of the 1800's and remains much the same in appearance. The rest of Townsend Street on the "loyalist" side of the wall has no remaining streetside buildings, only vacant unused land. «
      Writing stuff
      Changing gears as a writer is tricky. I have been a diarist a few times in my life, especially in my late teens when I perceived that that period was a pivotal stage in my life at the transition into adulthood. I wrote every night almost without fail for several years while I was mainly occupied with producing my teen column for three weekly papers and spending evenings with my buds. But suddenly, just before turning 20, I was offered the editor's job on the main paper in the group. Writing many short news stories as my main occupation every day, I now found it no longer possible to write diary entries in the evening. It seemed that by the time I got to bedtime, I was "written out" for the day.
      Now, I feel I can work on my blog every day (the current form the former teen column has taken) and can still work on my book projects effectively when I see another improvement I can make on any of them. But I've been leery of getting into writing "publicity," which would be very similar to the daily grind of the weekly newspaper editing days. Telephone research, interviews, going back and forth with sources and then producing articles based on that process, is so different than the writing I feel is my calling, that I fear it would undermine my ability to do the reflective and creative work required for the books and blogs.
      When I was director of the Writers Connection, we often said, "if you're a writer, you can write anything." It's true; I even became a technical writer for the last segment of my professional life. But I suspect that if you do too much writing of a low quality for an audience that is reached in one day or over one weekend and then it is forgotten, you cannot, or at least you may find it surpassingly difficult, to shift gears and do a higher quality writing on your days off or your holidays.
      In the movie I reviewed last month that touches the career of Jack Kerouac, Kill Your Darlings, the point was made that one of Kerouac's mentors told him you could not expect to be a "real" writer until you've turned out a million words. And by the time he was introduced in the movie, as an undergraduate at Columbia University, he was said to have already written a million words, just for the sake of reaching that mile marker. Then he was ready to write, and he was ready to begin producing On the Road.
      In that sense, all the publicity articles and—in the careers of many aspiring serious writers, all the romance novels or books written by some formula—have instructive or apprenticeship value. But you have to break loose from every formula after that million lesser-quality words, and resolve to write something that makes readers pay attention, something that leaves lasting value to them, if you want to make the next step.
      Today's inspiration
      This being the 41st anniversary of the landmark US Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion in demand in all of the United States, and as in turn this is the March for Life day in Washington, I've chosen today's inspiration on that topic from the late Mother Teresa.
      My prayers are with the marchers and wish I could be there in more than spirit. «

      Today's quotes
      Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.
      — Booker T. Washington «
      Abortion is the only business in the world that does not show you a picture of the product they are selling.
      — Anonymous «
      The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.
      — Alveda King «
      Homiletical thought: This must be one of the hardest sayings in the Gospels, that we must love Jesus more than our mothers and fathers and vice versa. Yet we know from the annals of the martyrs that many children were disowned by their parents because they chose the way of Jesus rather than being good patriotic Roman Caesar worshippers. Sometimes parents themselves turned their children into the political leaders of their time who put them to death for failing to burn incense in honor of Caesar. And thus many of the last in the kingdom of Caesar became among the first in God's kingdom. «

      §     §     §
      Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence