Did You Study Bacon?

Did You Study Bacon?

On The Bookshelf #2

At the end of October when I linked up with F.M.F. (Five Minute Friday’s) the surprise word was “bacon.” Everyone seemed to be discussing meat. Given my propensity to think unconventionally I originally thought of Francis Bacon (1561-1626). His essays are some of his most popular works. A nice copy graces my bookshelf.

My favorite of the essays is “Of Studies.” It is in describing the virtue and value of studies that Bacon applies his wit to great effect.


Francis Bacon encourages us to, “Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.”

“Some books are to be tasted, others swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested…”

I find that I swallow novels. I chew and digest history and I taste many books before deciding if they will suit me. In fact, essays like Bacon’s are very suitable books to taste.

Forgive the pun, friends, I could not resist.

Do you choose books based upon their popularity, friends’ opinions, theme, genre or availability? I find different criteria suit different purposes. I find a work of history needs more time to chew and digest, while a volume of verse may be consumed in a brief evening.

I am more particular in selecting a work of historical fiction than I am in choosing contemporary fiction. I am not well able to tolerate a poor understanding of the history in a work of historical fiction. A well researched work by an author with a good grasp of the era can be most compelling, while an engaging story and style will make an effective contemporary work alone.

This month I am devoting time to writing my own piece of historical fiction. I am finding that historical fiction can be more challenging to write than historical fact. The need to keep the drama and pace falls squarely upon the shoulders of the novelist, while the scholar can rely upon the fact that history tends to provide its’ own drama.

Why I Write

Why I Write

Why do I write? At first that seemed to be asking the one thing that is inexpressible. Yet, on further consideration, I must start at the beginning.

Growing up I loved to read. This is an understatement. I really was a voracious reader. Endless books were consumed. Some were so delicious that my taste for them could not be sated and I re-read favorites with a growing appetite.

It seemed natural to express my thoughts and feelings in words. So, I wrote. Plays, poems and short stories poured out of my youthful spirit with fervor. Writing seemed a natural way for me to share what I had learned with others. The binder that housed my collected works overflowed. It was my second most priceless possession as a child. My prized possession was my first Bible.

The reason I loved to read was not so much a fondness for a good story, although that was definitely a part of my desire. I found as I grew that I read for the thread of the human spirit that I was finding in literature, history and many other genres. I also loved loosing myself in other times and characters as I lived vicariously through other lives.

I adore Jane Austen’s books. I read and re-read her novels so as to become familiar not only with the characters, but also, to some extent with the author herself. When I read books written in her style I recognized immediately that they were not by the Jane Austen herself. I had become so familiar with her distinct voice that I could no more fail to recognize the change than I could fail to recognize the spoken voice of a close family member. I have never met Jane Austen, but I found myself regarding her to some extent as a friend. Finding myself becoming a friend of one who lived long before I was born was a delightful experience. Vast distances of time and space are reduced in the pages of books. Each author has put some of themselves into their writing. We share our lives with all those whose books we have cherished.

This connection to those of the past intrigued me. Eventually I came to the realization that it is not only the pantheon who left some of themselves in their written words. We each have been given our own unique voice. No one else can express the human story quite as we do. Yet, despite, or I believe, because of this very great variety, we begin to learn deeper truths from one another.

The transcendent truths of God become clearer as we share our experiences of them with each other. Our hearts leaps up with a recognition of the voice of a friend, just as with a familiar author, when we hear The Word spoken through another person’s life.

Because we each have a unique voice we can share the truth’s that bind us all together. A fabric woven with only one color thread doesn’t convey a complex design nearly as vividly as one woven with several colors. Our life experience grows richer as we share our journey with one another. We become woven together through faith and words into something beautiful in the Makers hand.

I write because I feel called to share this journey. It sounds presumptuous of me. I do not mean that there is anything special about my life or my ability to put it into words. I honestly believe that we all become richer in sharing the Good News. When we share our belief and the life we are living in Christ, we are bearing witness to the One who made and saved us. Whether we share our story in words or not we all are part of God’s divine plan, part of the greatest story ever.