Showing posts from May, 2008

East Meets West: Fencing Bear Goes to the Bookstore*

Although in human terms I am in what I sincerely hope to be my middle age, as a fencing bear I am only five years old. Being a bear hitherto more comfortable with a pen than a sword, one of the first things that I did as soon as I picked up a foil was to go to the martial arts section of my local Borders (plural) and look for books on how to think about fencing. Of course, I hoped, like all bookish bears, that there might be a book that would teach me the physical secrets of fencing, diagrams and all, but I was also hoping for something more meditative, on the psychological or spiritual effects of this martial sport. Imagine my dismay when I found the shelves groaning (do shelves groan?) with book after book on the "zen" of the martial arts of the East but only one, Nick Evangelista' s The Inner Game of Fencing , promising anything close to observations on how Western-style fencing affects the mind or the soul. Late night searches on the Internet found Aladar Kogler's

O God, hasten to my aid*

It's nearly the end of term and I'm looking forward to a leave next year, during which I am going to be working on a book on the medieval practice of prayer. Strictly speaking, there is no need for me to tell you about this, but I had the thought if I started a blog, perhaps I might find others who were likewise interested in thinking about prayer. So now I've spent the past hour looking at the screen, wondering what to say and realizing that this desire to speak is all too closely akin to my habit of keeping a diary when I was younger. If nobody reads this blog other than God, will my prayer work? I find I envy those bloggers, like my brother ( frieswithmayonnaise ), who seem to be able to see a blog as a form of publication and so write polished observations on life around them that others might, in fact, want to read. I fear my postings here will be much more internally directed, but I want to try and use this space as a way of exploring aspects of prayer that might