Guest Underground Society Post by Josh Gross

Standard

 

I want to give thanks to Josh Gross for contributing this excellent post to my blog. Please be sure to check out his blog: Jaguar and Allies .

Underground Library Society Post

 

ULS Logo 3

 

Introduction

 

In May of this year, Dr. Charles French extended an invitation to join his Underground Library Society (ULS). The ULS began as a project for Dr. French’s English 2 class, in which students were required to create a poster and blog about a book they would memorize. In this way, they might be able to save it from censorship.

 

Dr. French’s invitation asked readers to do the same thing: make a poster and blog about a book they would memorize. I selected the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence – better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

 

While I have not constructed a poster, what follows is an essay about why I would memorize this book.

 

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence

 

T.E.Lawrence

(A portrait of T. E. Lawrence, as seen in Lowell Thomas’ With Lawrence in Arabia. Public Domain image retrieved from Wikimedia.)

 

In these pages in not the history of the Arab movement, but just of what happened to me in it…It treats of daily life, mean happenings, little people. Here are no lessons for the world, no events to shake peoples. It is filled with trivial things, partly that no one mistake it for history (it is the bones from which some day a man may make history), and partly for the pleasure it gave me to recall the fellowship of the revolt (Lawrence, 2011, p. 9).

 

I first picked up the Seven Pillars of Wisdom on a whim. I had just finished reading The Outsiders by Colin Wilson, which quoted Lawrence repeatedly. Lawrence’s words struck a chord with me, so I ordered a copy of his book. I had no idea what I was getting into.

 

The Seven Pillars is the memoir of the fabled “Lawrence of Arabia,” whom Michael Korda (2010) describes as, “a scholar, an archaeologist, a writer of genius, a gifted translator…a soldier of startling originality and brilliance; an instinctive leader of men; and, above all, a hero” (p. xvi).

 

emirfaisal

​(T. E. Lawrence, second from right in the middle row, accompanying Emir Faisal Hussein of Mecca at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Public Domain image retrieved from Wikimedia.)

 

Lawrence’s memoir chronicles his experiences in the Arab Revolt of 1916, in which the Arabic peoples rose up against the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire. Little did they know, they had entrusted their fates to a far more devious power than the Turks: the British Empire.

 

The Arab Revolt was both encouraged and supported by the British. At this time, Europe was locked in the bloody stalemate of World War I – with the British and Ottomans fighting on opposite sides. The British therefore helped to instigate a rebellion of the Arabs against the Ottomans, promising to grant their ‘friends’ freedom and a sovereign state.

 

But in a real-life conspiracy, the British and French met behind closed doors; deciding to carve up the Middle East amongst themselves however they saw fit. There would be no freedom for the Arabs.

 

From the beginning, Lawrence was a firm believer in the Arab Revolt. He initially supported it indirectly as a desk-based intelligence officer in Cairo. But when the revolt began to flounder, he entered the field as a liaison between the Arabic and British armies. His time in the field makes up the bulk of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

 

lawrencearch

(Much of Lawrence’s sympathy for the Arabs stemmed from his Oxford days, when he worked as an archaeologist at Carchemish. Public Domain image retrieved from Wikimedia.)

 

What first struck me about the Seven Pillars, and the primary reason I would memorize it, is the sheer beauty of its prose. Lawrence wrote with more skill, passion, and care than any author I have yet found. He described the scenery of Arabia so perfectly that the hues of the desert come to life; he writes about the characters so intimately that they seem like old friends; but, most of all, he describes his own thoughts and emotions in such detail that it is impossible not to be affected by them.

 

wadirum

(Wadi Rum, shown here, was one of Lawrence’s favorite places in Arabia. Wadi Rum by Dan. CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

It is in these moments of self-disclosure that the Seven Pillars truly shines. To be fair, I disagree with many of Lawrence’s sentiments. However, that does not detract from the quality of his writing. It is also during Lawrence’s ‘deeper’ passages that the central theme of the Seven Pillars becomes apparent: that of a man torn in two.

 

Lawrence was a proud Englishman, and felt that his first duty was to his homeland. Despite this, he also believed in a free Arabia. As the Seven Pillars progresses, the incompatible drives between serving his British masters and helping his Arabic friends gradually rip him apart.

 

This is the primary reason I would choose to memorize the Seven Pillars of Wisdom: it shows what happens when one chooses to obey authority over doing what they know to be right.

 

lawrenceeffigy

(​Lawrence died on the morning of May 19, 1935, following a tragic motorcycle accident. TE Lawrence Effigy Wareham Church by Julian Hutchings. CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

Lawrence never recovered from the war, and neither did the world. How different would the modern age be if the Arabs had been allowed to govern themselves, instead of being turned into the colonial play-things of the British, French, and later the Americans? We will never know.

 

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is more than a literary masterpiece. It is the story of broken promises, of failed dreams, and of a world that almost was. As Lawrence (2011) wrote:

 

I meant to make a new nation, to restore to the world a lost influence, to

give twenty millions of Semites an inspired dream-palace of their national

thoughts. So high an aim called out the inherent nobility of their minds, and made

them play a generous part in events: but when we won, it was charged against me

that British petrol royalties in Mesopotamia were become dubious, and French

colonial policy mined in the levant (p. 10).

 

I hope to preserve Lawrence’s words forever, so that the world never forgets the price of deception.

 

References

 

Korda, M. (2010). Hero: The life and legend of Lawrence of Arabia. New York, NY:

HarperCollins Publishers.

 

Lawrence, T. E. (2011). The seven pillars of wisdom: A triumph: The complete 1922 text.

Blacksburg, VA: Wilder Publications, Inc.

 

Once again, thank you to Josh Gross!

ULS Logo 3

 

 

Advertisements

Quotations By J.R.R. Tolkien

Standard

1200px-Oxford_Tolkien

(https://en.wikiquote.org)

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

                                                 The Fellowship Of The Ring

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

                                                 The Fellowship Of The Ring

“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

                                                 The Two Towers

 

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

                                                 The Hobbit

“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”

                                                The Return Of The King

Happy Independence Day!

Standard

america-870088_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

I wish all a happy and safe 4th of July.  Please celebrate safely, have fun, and take a moment to remember all those who sacrificed to bring freedom.

soldiers-1010631_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

Let us also remember that freedom includes everyone of all races, religions, ethnicities, backgrounds, classes, sexual orientations, creeds, and neurodiversities–and any others I may have forgotten.  Freedom demands inclusion, not exclusion. Let us remember that freedom for all is the basis and the promise, if not always the reality, of the United States of America.

statue-of-liberty-1075752__340

(https://pixabay.com)

Let us keep The United States of America a shining light to the oppressed of the world. Let us remember the words on the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Emma Lazarus

 

Let us remember that we, as human beings, are connected, that we all have a place in the world. Let us remember the value of freedom and democracy. The fourth of July is more than a day of fireworks–it is a day of the celebration of freedom. Let us never lose that freedom.

we-566327_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

We must always remember that. We are all connected. We, all of us, are the people.

What Are You Writing Now?

Standard

update-1672363_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

It has been a while since I have spoken of what I am currently writing. As always, I am keeping busy and continuing to try to write almost every day.  In a few days, I will speak specifically about my book on writing essays that will be released soon. I am excited to say that this book is not self-published! I finally have a traditional publisher. I am not, in any way, discounting the value of my self-published work; instead, I am now claiming to be a hybrid writer, living in both worlds.

Additionally, I am working on the first draft of a fantasy novel that I hope to have finished by the end of July.  As soon as that is complete, I will begin working on another book on writing. Waiting patiently in line after that are the characters who will people a political thriller.

What about all of you? What are you working on? I hope you are enjoying writing and are being productive.

So, I ask again: what are you writing now?

writing-pad-3202747__340

(https://pixabay.com)

 

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

 

What Do You Enjoy About Writing?

Standard

typewriter-801921__340

(https://pixabay.com)

Writers have many aspects to what they do, and creating a book is a large and arduous task. It often requires research, numerous drafts, editing, and proofreading to name some of the components.

And this is hard work.

But why do writers do this work if they do not enjoy what they do? I think most writers do take joy from their efforts, and I think they find reward in it. I would like to hear from you what you enjoy in the act of writing.

It would be completely legitimate, as I tell my students when posing a question to them, to ask me: what do I enjoy about writing?

Well, many aspects occur to me, but what I enjoy the most is the act of story-telling, of creating characters and seeing what happens to them.

So, I ask: what do you enjoy about writing?

coffee-2306471_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

 

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

Quotations on Standing Up to Evil

Standard

NPG 655; Edmund Burke studio of Sir Joshua Reynolds

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

(Painting by Joshua Reynolds)

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

                                                                          Edmund Burke

 

pacifist-71445__340

(https://pixabay.com)

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

                                                                  Mahatma Gandhi

 

martin-luther-king-jr-393870_960_720 (1)

(https://pixabay.com)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

                                                                 Martin Luther King Jr.

World Refugee Day and The United States of America

Standard

Around the world, millions of people are forced to flee their homes to try to escape violence and to attempt to save their families. These are people who are forced into making the most difficult decisions and who are among the most vulnerable people in the world. This includes the families who are attempting to escape severe danger and to seek asylum in the United States of America, which had been before the shining beacon of hope for those in peril.

How they are treated by the nations of the world, including the United States of America, is a defining measure of those countries.

The United Nations Refugee Agency speaks to this issue: “On World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20th, we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. This year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.” (http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/)

Please support World Refugee Day, and please remember that our current President has caused a refugee crisis by his inexcusable, inhumane, treatment of children on our southern border, treatment that is child abuse.

Speak up for these families. Do not let the United States of America’s beacon of hope die out.

 

Works Cited

http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/