So… what’s been going on this week? I’ve been doing more packing. It’s tough packing away stuff when you have no idea when you’ll be moving. Do I pack this book, or will I have time to read it before we go? How many books will I need to prepare Sunday School lessons? And for how long will I need them?
Speaking of moving, we looked at more houses this week. I only have a few more houses left on my list, so unless our realtor and my wife have more for us to look at, we might be getting close to decision time. There are a couple of strong possibilities among the ones we viewed, but none that really captivated us. We were hoping that by now we would have found a place we all love and fits our budget. However, I’m beginning to wonder how much stock we should place in the “love” department. Affection for a house can be a fickle thing. Sure, plenty of people have fallen in love with a house and continued to love it as long as they lived in it. But there are others who moved into a place for reasons other than an overwhelming desire to live there, and over time, came to love that house. Or at least grow attached to it, if only through familiarity. So maybe we should consider more of the practical aspects, and hope the emotional side will take care of itself? I don’t know. I think I’m just ready to get on and be moved! 🙂
On the links front, a few weeks ago we talked about money and writing. Well, The Writer magazine published an article saying that independent authors are now starting to outsell traditionally published writers. In other words, indie writers, which includes self-published writers, are finding an audience large enough to at least sustain a writing career, if not rake in quite a bit of money. The article mentions six-figure incomes as being not entirely uncommon. It’s a well-established fact that self-publishing has the potential to make a lot of money, if only because you’re cutting out all the middle men (e.g., agents and marketing people). Of course, that doesn’t mean such incomes are guaranteed. You still have to write good books that people want to read. And you are still responsible for a lot of things that, in a traditional model, the publisher would take care of for you (cover art, some portion of publicity, etc.). Personally, I’m still attracted to the idea of having an agent represent me and my work, and having people around me that can take care of the business side of publishing, leaving me to write. But it’s food for thought, at least.
Next, did you know there’s a 15th century Spanish manuscript written in a language that no-one has yet been able to decipher? It’s called the Voynich manuscript, and, according to this article in The Guardian, a small publisher recently won the rights to publish it. Before you go placing your pre-orders, the print run won’t be large, and it’ll be priced way beyond most people’s budgets (we’re talking hundreds of dollars). So it’ll probably find an audience mostly with academic institutions, and very rich people with lots of money to burn. I am fascinated with languages, so the thought of this book intrigues me. Why has no-one figured it out yet? What kind of book is it? Given some of the accompanying illustrations, some speculate that it’s a mystical work, perhaps occultic. Fascinating, nevertheless.
Finally, you might have heard about France’s secular government imposing a ban on the “burkini”–essentially swimwear for Muslim women that enables them to enjoy the beach without violating their modesty. Here’s an article from the BBC about it. France takes great pride in being a secular nation, and has ever since the French Revolution. This is nothing special. The US is, to all intents and purposes, a secular nation, though it’s clear the US Constitution was written from a Judeo-Christian worldview. What baffles me is, if the French government (and, apparently, 64% of the French people) as so secure in their secularism, why do they feel so threatened by Islamic clothing? What does the French government have against modesty on the beach? It seems there is no tolerance in French secularism. And my fellow Christians should take note: this is one of the most severe restrictions of religious freedom I’ve seen in any so-called “free” country. Even with all the recent terrorist attacks in France, such a ban makes no sense aside from being a counter-exertion of the French irreligious sensibility. In which case, it won’t end with Islamic swimwear.
UPDATE: A French court overturned the burkini ban just this morning. I still wonder about, as the article puts it, “France’s rigidly enforced secularism.” Isn’t this just another form of extremism? What happened to diversity and the freedom of expression? Isn’t a “rigidly enforced secularism” just another form of oppression, no better than the Taliban?
That’s all from me for this week. How’s things with you? If you’re a homeowner, did you love your house when you bought it? Any advice for us?