Nothing New

Everyone wants to be original, creative, the first to do something. It is the mark of our culture. We are independent and unique. We value fresh, new, innovative art, music, and technology. Originality is held as a virtue. Does being original make one better than the rest?

I am also a product of my culture. I want to be seen as creative and unique, especially in my writing. I like when I can come up with a fresh idea or can think of a clever frame for a story. I feel like the written word is one of the few areas I am truly creative. In other areas, I am usually just following a model. I can cook well because I can follow a recipe well, I can sew or makes crafts well because I find good patterns. I can play beautiful music because I practiced technique and play exactly what is written by a composer.

In a book about the history of classical education, I read, “They tried not to say something new; they tried to say something worthy, and say it perfectly.” This quote reminded me that newness is not the end-all. It is completely acceptable to imitate what is good. Even the Italian renaissance, which I tend to think of as a time of fresh creativity, was actually an imitative era. It was a rebirth of the classical style of art, literature, architecture, etc. Renaissance thinkers and artists studied the written works of the Greek and Roman authors and admired their architecture and art. Success was measured by how a work held to the classical standard. The renaissance led the way into the modern era by looking back to a previous era.

Many people can be “original” without saying or showing anything worthwhile or beautiful. I want what I say (or make or do) to be first worthwhile and true. Secondly, I want to say it well, beautifully, and with clarity. If what I say is also something new, well and good, if it is even possible to say something truly original. In the end, what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Quote from Climbing Parnassus by Tracy Lee Simmons.

Photo is my own.

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Life with Emma

Many of you have asked about my new housemate and how that transition has been. It has been such a refreshing blessing! Emma is from England and is the middle school art teacher at Lincoln. She has traveled quite a lot already and surrounds herself with all sorts of beautiful and interesting things. I’m secretly hoping that she won’t have room in her suitcase at the end of the year and I will benefit from just a little bit of it. 😉 We have been sharing grocery shopping and cooking responsibilities and that has been a lot of fun to share meals together. Emma also has been asking the landlady if we can make all sorts of little changes around the house, which I was too timid to ask about before. All those little changes have actually excited the landlady and made our space so much more homey and inviting. Here are some demonstrations of how our life looks now.

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Our fruit bowl now looks like a still life painting.

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We have a comfy place for working and relaxing together and Emma has lots of space to spread out her artwork (both completed and works in progress).

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Our cupboard is full of teacups! Emma has a lovely collection and yes, they are for tea, not coffee. We also are using British tea towels in the kitchen now as they are apparently far superior to anything you can find here of the kind.

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I am also enjoying lots of little touches that Emma puts on everything which make the house so much more conducive to hosting. We have had people over for dinner a few times already and those times have definitely been a blessing. I could not be more thankful.