Sunday Inspiration: Purpose

What do we live for if not to make the world less difficult for each other?
—George Eliot

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Irish Fairy Tales

Irish Fairy Tales by Edmund Leary is now available in the public domain. According to the Celtic Myth Podshow,

The author of the tales contained in this volume was one of the brightest and most poetic spirits who have appeared in Ireland in the last half century. It is needless to say that he was also one of the most patriotic Irishmen of his generation–patriotic in the highest and widest sense of that term, loving with an ardent love his country, its people, its historic traditions, its hills and plains, its lakes and streams, its raths and mounds. Like all men of his type, he lived largely in the past, and his fancy revelled much in fairy scenes of childhood and youth. So reads the introduction to this book, originally published in 1906 and containing some great Fairy Tales.

You can read or download Irish Fairy Tales at Project Gutenberg.

Thanksgiving 2014

I’m thankful for

  • Twenty years of marriage to the smartest, kindest, most wonderful woman in the world
  • A healthy, happy, and mostly well-adjusted teenager
  • The privilege of taking care of parents who have always taken care of me
  • Able and dedicated coworkers
  • A small but enthusiastic Taylor Smart fan club
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • The end of political campaign ads for another two years
  • The Academy for Classical Education
  • Google Books
  • The Bibb County Public Library
  • Zydeco music
  • Pepakura and the geniuses who design and build it
  • The Christmas light show at Callaway Gardens
  • The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team
  • Indoor plumbing
  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Love

What are you thankful for?

A New Coptic Spellbook

Coptic isn’t exactly “Ancient Egyptian,” as it is called in this Atlas Obscura post title, but this is still an interesting development. A Coptic spellbook from the 7th or 8th century AD has recently been translated into English.

Researchers in Australia have decoded an Ancient Egyptian ritual codex containing spells to cure demonic possession, treat black jaundice, and find success in business and love. The complete 20-page illustrated parchment booklet, thought date to the 7th or 8th century, contains 27 spells and “a lengthy series of invocations that culminate with drawings and words of power.” The translation, by Macquarie University professors Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, is called “A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power.”

According to the publishers,

This volume publishes a new Coptic handbook of ritual power, comprising a complete 20 page parchment codex from the second half of the first millennium AD. It consists of an invocation including both Christian and Gnostic elements, ritual instructions, and a list of twenty-seven spells to cure demonic possession, various ailments, the effects of magic, or to bring success in love and business. The codex is not only a substantial new addition to the corpus of magical texts from Egypt, but, in its opening invocation, also provides new evidence for Sethian Gnostic thought in Coptic texts.

Sadie Kane, call your office!

 

In Praise of Beta Readers

Julian Saheed praises beta readers as the unsung heroes of literature, and I heartily agree!

Beta readers are there to take a look at our story from the viewpoint of our consumers. They take a much broader look at our writing and provide us with feedback on themes, plots, character development and interactions. They explain to us how our story made them feel, at which points they cried, at which points they laughed. Most importantly, they tell us what they did not like. Their feedback is provided from the mindset of a reader, not the mindset of an editor, whose approach is much more technical. This is precious feedback. Feedback that can help you avoid displeasure in your fans, something we all strive towards.