A most joyous feast day.
Might wish to take a look at this. For the time being I would probably recommend that everyone use something like Netscape, Mozilla, or Opera, if you have them available. the MyIE2 claims to have IE as a core, but it looks a lot like a Mozilla (open source) core with some IE skin trappings. However, if uncertain, probably better not to use it until IE is well and truly patched.
I have two very dear friends who seem to be in good positions to emerge from the employment doldrums. For one of them this will entail the great hardship of being separated from his family for a length of time. Please pray for the success of the interviews and the removal of any other bureaucratic red-tape that may be in the way. Thanks.
If you have not yet sought it out, Orwell's "Politics and the English Langauge" is still required reading. Written in 1946, his analysis is still dead-on and the trends he noted are becoming only more entrenched. His introductory analysis of five examples of overblown prose will make you exceedingly cautious when you are tempted to use the word "utilize" again.
I would say that this essay, along with Strunk and White will point you in the proper direction of clear prose more readily than a passel of University professors.
from "Politics and the English Language"
Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to. This time it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:
I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Here it is in modern English:
Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.
. . . It will be seen that I have not made a full translation. The beginning and ending of the sentence follow the original meaning fairly closely, but in the middle the concrete illustrations -- race, battle, bread -- dissolve into the vague phrases "success or failure in competitive activities." This had to be so, because no modern writer of the kind I am discussing -- no one capable of using phrases like "objective considerations of contemporary phenomena" -- would ever tabulate his thoughts in that precise and detailed way. The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness. Now analyze these two sentences a little more closely. The first contains forty-nine words but only sixty syllables, and all its words are those of everyday life. The second contains thirty-eight words of ninety syllables: eighteen of those words are from Latin roots, and one from Greek. The first sentence contains six vivid images, and only one phrase ("time and chance") that could be called vague. The second contains not a single fresh, arresting phrase, and in spite of its ninety syllables it gives only a shortened version of the meaning contained in the first. Yet without a doubt it is the second kind of sentence that is gaining ground in modern English. . . . People who write in this manner usually have a general emotional meaning -- they dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another -- but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying.
from Ordinary Graces
complied by Lorraine Kisly
Humility is just as much the opposite of self-abasement as it is of self-exaltation. to be humble is not to make comparisons. Secure in its reality, the self is neither better nor worse, bigger nor smaller, than anything else in the universe. It is--is nothing, yet at the same time one with everything. It is in this sense that humility is absolute self-effacement.
To be nothing in the self-effacement of humility, yet, for the sake of the task, to embody its whole weight and importance in your bearing, as the one who has been called to undertake it. To give to people, works, poetry, art, what the self can contribute, and to take, simply and freely, what belongs to it by reason of its identity. Praise and blame, the winds of success and adversity, blow over such a life without leaving a trace or upsetting its balance.
Towards this, so help me, God--
While there is much food for thought here, I have a simple note on the beginning. Some time back there were comments about false-humility in Catholicism. There was some intimation that when one looked at a veritable monster, say Saddam Hussein, and said, I am the chiefest of sinners, there was something false in that humility. But it is possible for the humble person, and necessary, it would seem, to say, "I am the chiefest of sinners." For in humility we do not compare, and so we would know only our own state and in that knowledge each one of us is, in fact, the biggest sinner we know. Now, there is part of me that reels at the contradiction--surely I can look out into the world and see people who have done things far worse than I could ever contemplate--they are thickly encrusted in the deepest darkest muck of sin. I however, have never done such things, but I have done others. My muck may be of a different color, but for all I know may be twice as thick as the person I am looking at. We forget that ALL sin is equally abhorrent in the eyes of God. Anyway, I belabor the point. True humility does not admit of comparison--comparison is nearly always an act of pride (when it is to oneself that the comparison is made).
From T.S. O'Rama's place--you know that Video Ovid place:
"Cling to Christ so tightly such that if he sent you to hell he would have to go with you" -our pastor quoting St. Claude.
And even though the obligatory cautions were given, I can't see how you can fault the thought--if you cling to Christ why would He want you to go anywhere else?
Thanks T.S.--great quote.
Ms des Ormeaux left a comment earlier today and very kindly included access to her blog--Notes to Myself. . .. Please stop by and give Ms. des Ormeaux some support as she gets her "blogging legs."
I spend much of my time in the quiet tidal pools of St. Blogs. There are really wonderful evidences of life to be observed there. Of recent date I have grown very fond of The Lowly Pilgrim. It joins ranks with Ms. Knapp's log,, the journey, and Conversations that Matter as one of the pleasantest and quietest of places to retreat from the noise of the blogworld. Unfortunately, as in all these cases, there is not nearly enough there for those of us who are voracious in our consumption of the quiet and unassuming. But, let us celebrate what there is.
This note started out as a response in the comment box to this post by Mr. Moffat. I must preface everything by expressing my disagreement with the codicil to the post in which he rejects the good that Yancey has given through his writing by a quibble with his personal life. Yancey's personal life, whatever it may be, will not infect the Catholic reader, but the reader will engage on a journey as one man discovers ways back from alienation with faith. That said, Mr. Moffat brought up a number of points about Thomas Merton (who is far more likely to lead the casual reader astray, even though I have not read anything that I would say was categorically unorthodox, nor, to my knowledge, has the Vatican ever issued any "warnings" against his writings).
On Merton a couple of notes--
(1) I deeply admire Merton and his career. He was a man who sought silence, but who could not reconcile the interior noisiness that gave rise to his prolific writing with the life of silence. The attraction to eastern religion and Zen in particular probably stemmed from the desire for a "technique" to help still the interior noise. What Merton failed to realize, or at least what I seem to hear relatively little of, is that the act of writing was an act of prayer. He wrote because he was writing to God and for him there was no other choice. I tend to view his Asian experience as more an experiment with method than a flirting with ideas. I could be wrong, but he always seemed to return to a very solid Christian center. He never bought the notion of annihilation of self in a literal nothingness. Annihilation of self can be correlative to detachment, but then the self is being more reified than annihilated. That is, in detachment one gives up the false self created for security amongst people and assumes the true identity in Christ. So, as I see the fascination for Zen, I see an attempt to find a "short-cut" or at least a clear route to the center of detachment. (But I haven't read extensively in the later diaries, so I don't know that these speculations are well-grounded.)
(2) It seems that if one were to take exception to Merton, the strongest case for doing so is outlined in Paul Elie's study as well as most of the modern introduction to The Seven Storey Mountain. That would, of course, be the fact that he had fathered a child out of wedlock. However, were we to judge all by this standard, I suspect there are are good many Saints we would have to do without, starting with Augustine and going right up to Charles de Foucauld. We all make stupid mistakes in youth--Merton did so, presumably repented, and that issue was a matter for him and God, not for him to be judged by.
I bring up this lattter to return to the initial point--a single life-shaping mistake or experience neither abrogates nor reinforces with work of an individual. Yancey was raised in a church of racists and taught fundamentally racist doctrine. Mr. Moffat claims that the bitterness of that experience has transformed him into a PC Christian. I do not agree, and I must admit find the judgment thus levied uncharacteristically harsh. I saw nowhere where Yancey compromised the truth encompassed by Scripture in any case of special pleading. He refers once to Mel White and his continued friendship with Mr. White--in no way implying that what Mr. White was presently doing was at all correct. His continued friendship is an instance of love the sinner--hate the sin. So I'm afraid I will have to continue to respectfully disagree with Mr. Moffat on this issue. I stand by my recommendation of Soul Survivor as a book that is most excellent for Christians of any stripe and a nice guide to possible future reading. I also stand by my statement that I have found other works dry or uninteresting, with nothing for me, nor perhaps for many Catholics. It is the nature of Soul Survivor as a kind of religious Literary Appreciation of a number of authors and people that gives it its peculiar viability and power.
See her Interview Responses.
I'm not fond of Schopenhauer's philosophy. I find it approaching Nietzsche's in utter repugnance; however, this little ditty seems to be a source of salutary reading for many of St. Blog's (and the world-at-large's) controversialists. These are to be distinguished from St. Blog's distinguished, reputable, and above-board disputant
My blogroll has become so bloated that it is literally impossible to get through it and pay any attention whatsoever to the articles written in a day. What is a poor person to do? Where can you possibly cut a blog-list? It's impossible. So I suppose I must get myself into some sort of routine that allows me to crawl through the list in thirds or something. But I've noticed with my erratic visits I haven't been hitting all of my favorite spots nearly so often. So, forgive me, but know that you're still a favorite--I'm just not terribly well organized yet.
Now there's a phrase to ring terror into every heart. What in the world does a group of nuns have to form a coalition about? This sounds like the AFL-CIO. I was blissfully unaware that such an organization existed and hope to return to that blissful state momentarily. But it did strike a note, a nerve, or some other n-thing. I can't imagine Thérèse (you knew I'd get her here somehow) joining, condoning, or even noticing such an organization. Were there National Coalitions of Nuns in France in the 1890s?
is available here.
You all know by now that Thérèse is a doctor of the Church. As such the Church has declared that she has taught valuable doctrine concerning core church teachings. In particular, her "little way" is seen as a valuable contribution to the understanding of the Church.
However, the definition is that of a doctor of philosophy and the original meaning of Doctor. Thérèse is also a doctor in the modern sense. Through her deep understanding she corrects certain ailments in the church that come through exposure to the secular world.
from Spiritual Childhood: The Spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Msgr. Vernon Johnson
The word "love" is so often used for something merely emotional or sentimental that we hesitate to use it in connection with our religion. St. Thérèse rescues us from this false reserve and puts the word "love" again upon our lips in its true meaning.
In the midst of us cold and grown-up lovers, with our love hardened by the difficulty of life, dulled by its dreary routine, stilted by convention, and fettered by human respect, God has placed St. Thérèse to rescue us from all that is false in our concept of love and lead us back to that simple, direct, spontaneous love which, in the depths of our souls, we really long for.
As we enter the crypt of the basilica at Lisieux, we find ourselves beneath the great arch which spans the entrance to the nave. At the base of one side of the arch are written these words of scripture: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighour as thyself. On the other side are the words of St. Thérèse: "There is but one thing to be done here below: to love Jesus and to save souls for Him that He may be more loved." Thus does she make the words of Scripture live again, words which we have known from childhood, but whose meaning for that very reason has lost much of its significance.
It may be urged that a love of such simple directness as St. Thérèse's is possible only for special souls, gifted with extraordinary supernatural graces, and that therefore it is not within the compass of the ordinary person. But St. Thérèse's life was not distinguished by anything spectacular. Her way, as she used to say, was very ordinary, fashioned through the normal means of grace common to us all. The extraordinary thing in her life was her simple fidelity to those means of grace.
Thérèse is a gift to us from God. Through her, as through St. Bernadette, He once again showed us that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary sanctity through perfectly ordinary means. In short, He showed us that once again “His Grace is sufficient.”
Of ourselves we can do nothing but sin. But with God we are, each of us, a saint and a source of hope for the people we meet every day. Thérèse has pulled us out of a sense of love that grasps and seeks to fill a great emptiness and shown us a love that comes from a fullness and reaches out to others. More, because she was not extraordinarily gifted—she did not have the mind of a St. Thomas Aquinas, or the high teaching of St. Francis de Sales, St. Alphonsus, or St. John of the Cross—she is accessible to us. Moreover, she promised to make herself accessible. Her heaven would be spent doing good on Earth. The good she does begins with our choice to follow the little way and to show to all around us the loved she showed while on Earth. We will each do this in our own way; however, our best tribute to her today would be one small action, one little sacrifice that takes us away from ourselves and puts us squarely with God and with our neighbor. Thus we can spend our Earth building the Kingdom of Heaven through God’s grace.
St. Thérèse, Doctor and Daughter of the Most Holy Catholic Church, pray for us that we all burn with the fire that you had for God and for the salvation of souls.
To all my Carmelite Brothers and Sisters, Happy Feast Day.
To the rest of you, happy St. Thérèse Day. May this day see showers of roses from heaven for all of you. May the prayers of St. Thérèse be a source of blessing, peace and healing.
And today is an especially good day to invoke St. Thérèse in the cause of Terry Schiavo and Michael Schiavo. St. Thérèse knew illness intimately. She died an atrociously painful death at a time when painkillers were but little available and not at all available to those cloistered because of their vows of poverty and obedience. She understands sickness.
May her prayers help to free Terry Schiavo from the terrible death-sentence spelled out for her.
More importantly, Thérèse, was completely caught up in the spirit of saving souls. She prayed for an unrepentant murderer before his death, let us pray that her prayers will lead Michael Schiavo to a place where he can better understand what he is doing and where he can choose to do otherwise. May her powerful intercession break the bonds of Satan so clearly present here.
Blessings and joy to all today.
Via Mr. Teachout's blog, a wonderful, spirited defense of the works of Stephen King. I have many reservations regarding Mr. King's appropriateness for this award. I have many qualms about the quality of his work. I do resonate to some of what Mr. Bloom has to say about this. But Mr. Bloom asserts in a vacuum. He assumes popular=bad (which is often true, but not always). I used to believe this, and found that it was yet one more place I was wrong.
Whether Mr. King deserves the National Book Award or not is a moot point. I don't vote on it, most people have no say. The award shall be given. But it is vastly entertaining to see the merits of his work considered.
from St. Benedict and St. Thérèse
In the end Thérèse made a heroic sacrifice. Her painful death, combined with a terrible spiritual darkness, took her into a full identification with the Lamb of God; but in keeping with her little way, she never aspired to a sensational sacrifice. The way of the Lamb was found through the daily routine of self-sacrificial living. "Sensational acts of piety are not for me--this shall be my life, to miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word, always doing the tiniest things right and doing it for love."
This relates indirectly to a discussion at John da Fiesole's on hypocrisy. Was Thérèse a hypocrite because she smiled when she didn't feel like it? Were these small sacrifices a sign of an interior haughtiness and hypocrisy--a servile and sniveling way to curry God's favor?
Rather, I think that the exterior actions and the will to them, gave rise to a heart of love. Yes, she did view them as sacrifices, they were small labors, but labors willingly undertaken because they gave Love a home. The actions were not hypocrisy, but humility. It was not hypocritical for Thérèse to note that there was a sister among them at whom no one would smile willingly and that she undertook to do so. Had she done so in order to win the Sister to herself, that might at least be labeled flattery. But Thérèse did so because that is what love demanded. She did so because she could bring a soul to God if only for a moment.
It is in actions like these that we get the clearest understanding of what the Little Way is and what we can do to emulate it. Starting the day with the love of God firmly in our hearts, we make an attempt to be pleasant before we've had our morning coffee. We restrain the broad spectrum of the ways to express ourselves at those who feel traffic regulations are for other people. We smile and treat pleasantly people who we would rather have nothing whatsoever to do with. And we do it not to curry favor with people, and not to get on God's good side, but to be for just a moment a placid reflection of God in a life of turmoil. We offer a momentary glimpse, a taste of salvation--in the words of Omar Khayyam:
"A momentary taste of being
from the well amid the waste."
That is what the Little Way offers to the world. What it offers to us is the possibility of a life of daily joyous sacrifice, of doing God's will and not our own wills, of working in humble obedience toward the spread of Love and the news of Jesus' saving work. Ultimately the sweetness we offer in a brief respite from the usual actions of our society can make a "Kingdom of Heaven" here on Earth. And always we do what we do because we love Jesus.
St. James taught us that "Faith without works is dead." St. Thérèse in her ageless ever-young wisdom added "Love without works is dead." Love without sacrifice is no reflection of the One True Love shown for all eternity by arms outstretched on the cross.
Dickens describing Lady Dedlock in Bleak House:
" She is perfectly well-bred. If she could be translated to heaven to-morrow, she might be expected to ascend without any rapture. "
Listening to the local Christian Music Radio station on my way home I just heard a gentleman who was introduced as a "geologist" from the Creation Research Institute utter what I most despise coming from these people.
After a long and elaborate description of a certain kind of pollinating symbiosis in one breed of orchids, the scientist reached his scientific climax, the coup de grace of evolution--the grand and oracular scientific utterance, "Natural selection could not bring this about, only God's design."
Now, I have no real problem with the sentiment--everyone is entitled to an opinion, and when faced with certain things like this, I am often stunned by the complexity of the relationship and the morphologies involved. But to claim that such a declamation was in any way scientific or evidence of anything other than a profoundly held opinion is, in fact, fraud. Opinions do not make science. My opinion that evolution is (or is not) the cause of every morphotype in adaptive space is not proof that it is so. When people attack the supposed proofs with solid reasoning (Michael Behe, and his ilk) I'm inclined to give an attentive ear. I find many of the defenses against Behe's argument, shall we say, defensive--each a case of special pleading.
But do not present an opinion, by a scientist or anyone else, and then call it documentary evidence. It is misleading and it makes the people who then quote this kind of thing look like absolute idiots. Worse, it makes the case presented by those with strong scientific credentials less plausible, because everyone can point to the opinionaters and group them together.
Science tries to be objective, but scientists are every bit the political animal every human being is--and so if you can show someone belonging to a fringe outlier, you don't need to pay attention.
You must experience it. Summa mamas promises to have a refreshing perspective on things.
Many have commented on this theme, and while I haven't seen the original post I thought I would post some of mine.
T.S. O'Rama reminded me of one that I truly loved as a child, though it is down on the list. Thanks for the reminder, I believe I shall look at it yet once again.
All-time Top of the List
Tom Sawyer Mark Twain--(I read it three times every year starting in third grade. Around age 35, I reduced it to twice, but still every year)
Alice in Wonderland Through the Lookingglass and What Alice Found There Lewis Carroll-- (once a year every year since grade 5)
The Lord of the Rings --J. R. R. Tolkien (regularly since grade 6)
A Light in the Forest Conrad Richter(?)
My Side of the Mountain Jean Craighead George
Collected Tales of Edgar Allan Poe (I was a morbid little thing. Particularly liked "User" and "Masque of the Red Death"
The Illustrated Man, The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine--Ray Bradbury 7th grade on.
A Tale of Two Cities Fourth grade on
The Collected Tales of H.P. Lovecraft (ditto Clark Ashton Smith, ditto Robert Howard) I told you I was a morbid sort.
Foundation Trilogy and Dune (Grade 6 on)
These (except for Light in the Forest) have remained on my current reading list since that early time. Naturally I read them somewhat differently now, but they are good friends, solid companions, and a source of a certain comfort that other books generally cannot provide--they stay with me to this very day and I delight in thinking about them. It is my hope that my own son develop a similar list and it serves him as well.
Thomas requested an interview. Although he has already responded to Alicia's questions, there were other things I thought I could ask.
(1) I note your site has numerous references to monastic life, and in many cases strict monastic life (Trappists, OCSO, etc.) What is the attraction to these orders?
(2) Outside of the Bible, what spiritual reading has been most formative for you?
(3) Tell us a bit about the pilgrimage so far--born Catholic or convert? What has been the single greatest help in getting to where you are today spiritually?
(4) There seems to be a implication that you have had some experience in the business world. How has this experience informed your journey?
(5) Who is your favorite canonized Saint (other than the Blessed Virgin) and why?
Later: Thomas has posted his answers.
Crystal has asked to be interviewed. I must admit that I am not much of an interviewer and my questions may lack the luster of some. We might do well to be interviewed by several people because others ask incisive and informative questions. So if Crystal will forgive me, I offer these questions.
(1) The name of your site is Still Building Zion. Please explain what the title means and one thing you would like any visitor to your site to leave with.
(2) Other than the Bible, what is your favorite spiritual reading and why?
(3) You are part of a ministry that serves a teenage community. What does One Rock do and how did you get involved with it?
(4) Who is the person living today who has had the most influence in your life for good or ill? Why?
(5) On your site you speak of your reconversion. For the benefit of those who have not had a chance to read your story as published early, what is your story? Where were you and where do you hope to be going?
Title: The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Author: Mitch Albom
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Yes, I know, at every turn this book is being foisted off on you. Go into any bookstore and you get 30% off. The tables at Costco (where I bought it for still less) are littered with copies of it and you are faced with the ominous promise, "Mitch Albom author of Tuesdays with Morrie.
Well, I liked Tuesdays with Morrie even if occasionally I felt as if I were being lectured. The same holds true for this novel. I like it. I like it a lot. But there were places where I felt that the tone was a trifle strident, a trifle overbearing. But to be honest, that is because I am so sensitive to "message books." And this obviously IS a message book.
The intent of the story is somewhat similar to It's a Wonderful Life in showing the interconnectivity of the entire human community. It is sort of summed up in the first "lesson"
from The Five People You Meet in Heaven
"You say you should have died instead of me. But during my time on earth, people died instead of me, tool. It happens every day. When lightning strikes a minute after you are gone, or a an airplane crashes that you might have been on. When your colleague falls ill and you do not. We think such things are random. But there is a balance to it all. One withers, another grows. Birth and death are part of a whole.
"It is why we are drawn to babies. . ." He turned to the mourners. "And to funerals."
The story is told in a series of episodes that cover the main character's life. Eddie is a maintenance man at a pier side amusement park who dies trying to save a young girl's life. He does not know if he is successful.
The premise is that once you reach heaven you meet five people who help you to understand what you life was all about. They might be people you knew intimately, they might not. Each of them has some important role in who you are and what you have become.
The episodes include Eddie's Birthdays, the people he meets, the lessons they share and some moments on Earth after Eddie's death.
The book is quite short and does pack a punch here and there. I'm not ashamed to admit that I got choked up three or four times in the course of reading--the sign of very effective writing.
Because the time commitment to this book is so small (an-hour-and-half to say three hours) I cannot help but recommend it. Yes, there is much ground that has been trodden before. Yes, I think there are some flaws with the theology and the vision of heaven. But all told, it does us well to be reminded that we are part of a community. "No man is an island. . . if a clod be washed from Europe, Europe be the less. . . ." This is always a salutary reminder, as we too readily sink into ourselves and into the "Pilgrim" experience of John Bunyan of every man for himself until you reach the shores of salvation. And it's much more like we're all swimming for the heavenly shore--millions and millions of us. Sometimes we're so close and crowded, we impede each other's progress, sometimes we are allowed to pull one who is floundering from beneath the waters and hold him or her up briefly--long enough to catch breath before we're swimming again. But in one way or another our success, while entirely dependent upon Jesus’ sacrificial love is also dependent upon the broken creatures we swim with. We are all one body--and one body is not saved without its arms or legs--though it can be. It is against the nature of a body to allow these parts to go missing--and so we work with one another in our struggle to obey God.
A parting word:
"Sacrifice. . . you made one. I made one. We all make them. But you were angry over yours. You kept thinking about what you lost.
"You didn't get it. Sacrifice is part of life. It's supposed to be. It's not something to regret. It's something to aspire to. Little sacrifices. Big sacrifices. A mother works so her son can go to school. A daughter moves home to take care of her sick father. . ."
This picture encapsulates part of my fascination with St. Thomas More. While never for a moment turning from God, he managed to remain a man of the law (nearly unbelievable in itself--particularly given the time) and a devoted Father and Husband. The image above portrays St. Thomas More's farewell to his daughter. It was painted in the nineteenth century by Edward Matthew Ward. To my mind it captures perfectly the tenderness, deep regard, and concern that St. Thomas More lavished on his family until the day of his death.
Kathy the Carmelite was the first blog-owner to request an interview--I have to figure out what I'm going to do about non-blogowners--seems to me that frequent commenters might also be qualified.
Anyway, I'm not much of a questioner, but here I go with Kathy's five:
(1) You call your blog Gospel M*i*n*e*f*i*e*l*d. What did you have in mind when you named it that?
(2) Who has had the greatest impact on your spiritual journey and why?
(3) Which of the Carmelite Saints do you prefer and why? To whom would you suggest that one wishing to know about what Carmelite life is REALLY like go? (Other than the Holy Trinity and the Blessed Virgin)
(4) What is your favorite holiday/season of the year and why?
(5) List five authors (dead or alive) who you wish would never stop writing and tell us why they speak to you.