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First Day of School

by Tom Johnson on Sep 2, 2012
categories: family

After a week of not riding my bike to work, I resumed the regular riding routine. It felt so good to ride to work again. I'm convinced that the only way to ride a bike regularly and for enough time is to fit the ride into a commute to work. I don't commute all the way home, though I bet I could if I wanted. I drive to a nearby grocery story and park there. It cuts out 3.5 miles from the ride, which means I can make it in under 50 minutes rather than an hour and then some.

Callie was so eager for school she was up and ready, dressed, waiting at 6:15 am. I don't even leave until 7:45 am to take her. All went well on her first day.

Shannon accidentally scraped a car today. It's funny because she answered my phone call, and as soon as she did, she lost her attention in a parking lot and scraped a car. Luckily our insurance will cover all of it.

Shannon has given Avery control of her own room, with autonomy about how clean she decides to keep it. Avery used to be a tidy child with the cleanest room in the house. Somehow that has become a thing of the past. Now Avery is more of a little pack rat, with a room whose floor rarely sees the light of the day.

Shannon has become the opposite of a pack rat. She is convinced that we need to get rid of half our stuff and live in the moment rather than in the past or present. I'm fine with that. My shelf of books has been constantly narrowing. I believe she wants to empty half of the clothes in my closet as well. She might as well do that, since not many fit anymore anyway.

I've noticed that my interests seem to come and go. For the past year, I listened to quite a bit of audio fiction -- The Hunger Games, Mistborn, State of Wonder, Wheel of Time, The Millennium Trilogy. All of those books are series fiction except for State of Wonder, which is a standalone novel.

However, I've lost my interest a bit in fiction. I'm not sure why. I guess I thought I needed something to keep my attention, a super compelling story, so that I would stay exercising, whether walking or riding. If I start listening to something boring, I'd lose my patience for riding to work and I wouldn't meet my exercise goals.

Last year, I didn't listen to this much fiction. As I was studying the Old Testament, I listened to a lot of recorded lectures, documentaries, and audio books on the subject. It was fascinating. I'm not entirely sure why I lost some of that momentum. Maybe I decided that too much study of religion complicates faith. Or maybe I felt it was wasted learning -- after all, I'm not a professor of scripture, nor do I write a scripture-related blog of any kind. So why spend so much time learning about religious things?

I'm not sure, but I find the subject interesting. And so do a lot of people in this world, I suppose. Life can't be full of studying technical communication, or WordPress, or literature. And one should pursue what one finds interesting, even if there's no specific payoff careerwise, I think.

Listening to fiction doesn't further my career any more than listening to scripture-related writing. Novels are interesting in the moment, and their stories hang around in my mind a bit, but eventually they fade, and all I have left are echoes of characters and a faint trail of plot. But it seems that nonfiction has a bit more impact. Perhaps.

I'm now listening to Bart Ehrman's Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. I've listened to a couple of other books by Bart Ehrman and loved them -- Jesus Interrupted, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. 

Ehrman is controversial. His background is evangelical, so his focus is on Christianity. But his faith has dried up, not because he disbelieves the authenticity of the Bible (though he pokes about a million holes in it). Instead, the issue that ended his faith was the problem of suffering. He hasn't articulated this de-conversion story at length, because it's not the subject of any of his books (as far as I know), but I believe for him, a God that allowed such evil and suffering to take place in a world isn't a God that could possibly exist as portrayed in the Bible -- or something to that effect. I think that argument has much more poignancy for people who have experienced some kind of terrible traumatic event, such as the loss of a child or close family member.

At any rate, this book on forgery is fascinating. I love the way academics (especially those who write for lay people) can explore a topic with so much depth. Ehrman articulates concepts clearly in a way that's easy to follow. I like to think about ways that the ideas and theories of non-Mormon scholars might apply to the Book of Mormon.


About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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