The Ancient Modern

A Series of Reflections on Poetics, Personhood & the Cosmos by the Author of As Far As I Can Tell

Lear   NEW


Three Stories of Education

The Chrysoberyl Necklace… Fairies & Ghosts 

Celestial Cartography


By the Stream



Night Sounds



Feast of Books

The Descent


The Writer’s Wife

Two Saints


All the Writing of the World

Silent Water, Spoken Light

Le Pays de L’Amour-Propre


All the Rage

Haunted By Virtue

Awake in the World of Dreams, Part 5…Fairies & Ghosts  


To Write A Poem Like Baudelaire

Old Tom Has Some Work To Do

Terms of Venery for Solitary Birds

The Rabbit Creation Myth

Awake in the World of Dreams, Part 4…Fairies & Ghosts  

Awake in the World of Dreams, Part 3…Fairies & Ghosts  

It’s a Lifelong Singalong, If You Let It Be

The Work of Reading

Awake in the World of Dreams, Part 2…Fairies & Ghosts  

Out of Courtesy

Beautiful Moon! Bella Luna!

Awake in the World of Dreams, Part 1… Fairies & Ghosts


Two, Hearts, Two Paths, Two Ends


This And Not Another

My Friend Shal

Local Weather

Eat Them All

Life Untended

The Woman Who Followed the Wind… Fairy Tales and Ghost Stories

The Terror of the Day’s Routine

I Saw the Wonder and Glory

The Elixir of Life Continued

Human Life in a Lotus

Regarding Eggs

Evelyn Mary’s Dictionary

Isolation and Permanence During the Pandemic

A Poem While Gardening

Poetry and the Real

I Dream a Renovation



Stories from the Other World


Cape Town


Interpreting Depression

Fitted for Gracefulness

The Boy Who Tasted the Moon


The Unknown Project

A Tale of Jerusalem


Hospitality and Insurance

The Floating Crucifix

We Dream of Cosmic Laundry

Further Thoughts on Myth

The Raven Creation Myth

Even from the Silence

The Heart of the Debate

To Craft a Recognizable Story

Together, Whispering

Only a Gesture

Comparing the Metaphysical Triads

As the Beginning, So the End

Poetry and the Image of God

Stress, Sensitivity and the Inner Life

Overlooking a River Downstream from a Clearcut Forest

The Lost City, A Fairy Tale… Thin Places

On the Way to Church Today

The Reflection

Tang Poems


The Eighth Step Is the Water


Returning to a Symbolic Worldview

Reflections on Lalibela, the Spiritual Heart of Ethiopia

41, 68, 99, 11, 6

Behind the Silk Mirror

The Copper Chain  Poetry 

The Elixir

Searching for the Center, Part 3

Searching for the Center, Part 2

Searching for the Center, Part 1

Two Birds Over the Sky in Addis…

Prophecy and Narration

Jimsonweed  Poetry

Dream Tornadoes Make Deadly Company

My Impressions on Safari: The Infinite and the Absolute

The Runes  Poetry

A Thousand-Year Storm

Late Night on the Favorite Five

Empty  Poetry

Interpreting Asian Poetry: Passivity or Conservation?

A Reaction to the Recently Televised Self-Surgery

The Loom  Poetry

The Garden Tour

On the Relationship of Good & Evil in Religion & Fairytales

Nicodemus  Poetry

Poetic Education

Never By the Clock

Literacy as Medicine for Obsessive Thoughts

Tea Will Teach You  Poetry

The Bell Park

Cain  Poetry

The Importance of Modern Art

The Carpenter’s Wife, a Fairy Tale

The Ongoing Debate


A Combination of Wings… A Fairy Tale in Verse

Something to Keep in Mind

Shelter From the Noise

The Coyote Creation Myth

Some Advice for Contemporary Mesopotamians

Science and Culture

Ambrose and the River Troll

I Am Drinking With Li Bai In New Mexico And We Interrogate The Moon!  Poetry

Sidereal Invitation

Pleasure and Personhood

Why You Should Read Arthur Machen

Another Wednesday in Africa 

The Orgy

Rocks and Seeds

Pain in Childbearing

A Forgotten Tale of the Early Church

Turtles as Revelation

Psychological Astronomy

Who Walks When I Am Walking (A Poem in Prose)

The Wise General

Too Many Doors

Enjoying Slowly

Poetry and Biology

Handmade Beauty

Ethics and Poetry

A Pedestrian Nightmare

The Falsity of Measurement

On The Eagle and the Lightning

What Heaven Reveals

On the Two Types of Music

The Hidden Life of Time

Poetry and Environment

Time, Death and Science

Two Poems

Holy Wednesday: A Poem

2 thoughts on “Joshua Alan Sturgill

  1. Comments on Reflection XII: Handmade Beauty:

    The connection between how we express ourselves non-verbally, and non-physically, using the grammar and language as we put forth as words on paper (handwritten or typed, but not typed into an electronic document), usually distinguishes the amount of effort that we are willing to put into any matter.

    In this short reply, I am using a dictation program (Dragon) that allows me to “write” without typing or using a writing instrument such as a pen or pencil. What I say can be edited (and usually is edited, at least lightly), but I can never achieve the focus that comes from the slower writing process of using a pen on paper. I can type quickly and I can speak quickly, and– just ask my wife– my words usually somehow get me into trouble. The pen forces us to think-ahead, and that can only help us, right?

    I believe that setting our thoughts down for others to read is a sort of Beauty in itself. I would not have used that word, but I like how Joshua used it and has coined it for himself. Whether putting my thoughts down through writing using script or typing a few words into an online blog, many of us are trying to get our world-view across to others. I’ve never been able to write well in cursive. I can hardly remember how to write a capital Q or Z in script. For this reason, when I write, I use the method I first learned: printing.

    I went to elementary school in the early 1980s. Even back then, in a rural town on the East Coast, handwriting was being deemphasized in general. The typewriters had arrives many decades before the 80s, and my first use of a computer at school happened in about 1984. We were introduced to computers as newfangled typewriters.

    The loss of handwriting is a valid point here, but even worse, is the loss of Beauty that Joshua sees coming from our handwriting. I believe our thoughts ought to be the Beauty, not how we choose to express them. How we choose to express this Beauty is a personal choice for most of us. For Joshua, it seems, handwriting is important (and it is important for me too), but for others who have limited experience with this method of communication, the tool of choice is probably a computer keyboard or a phone’s touch screen– at least in the Western world where technology is readily available.

    However a person chooses to express their Beauty– if there is beauty inside of them– seems valid. In the same way that a person can use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to manipulate digital “matter,” others will use acrylic or oil paints on canvas to actually paint. For my writing methods, I choose to dictate, handwrite, and type. All of these methods allow me to express what I hope is Beauty.


    1. I really enjoyed this thoughtful post. I think you’re right about expressing the beauty any way we are able. I wonder if what grieves me most about the loss of handwriting is a loss of tradition and connection with past generations of pre-keyboard writers. I’ve heard that C.S. Lewis and Rene Guenon, as examples, handwrote whole manuscripts that required very little editing. How did they sustain a single narrative for such a long time!? I’m feeling good if I can get through a whole typed paragraph without the urge to check my phone! Slow, sustained thought, handwriting, expression of story and philosophy – the “beauty inside” – the connections seem deep, but fragile.


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