Reading and Writing

Old Book and Pen I like to write and I like to read.  But, my relationship with writing, literature and publishing goes a little deeper than that.  I would go so far as to phrase it as a love affair.  For some, writing is about language.  For me, it's also about books.  Books are beautiful things.  By picking up a book, you instantly plug into five thousand years of human history, culture and knowledge.

Books and my involvement with them have taken me to interesting places: both real and imagined.  While in High School, I thought long and hard about a career in graphic layout and design.  I first worked for a printing house and later interned with a layout firm.  These experiences culminated for a stint as the Senior Production Editor for an academic journal.  From those experiences, I learned to appreciate not just good writing, but also book making.

Here you will  articles, essays and links about both.

Articles and Essays

Of Artists and Artisans

The Inheritance Cycle – Christopher PaoliniAnathem

  • Truth and Fiction.  An introduction to Inheritance’s more nefarious ideas.
  • Eragon Shadeslayer: Sociopath.  Sociopaths choose evil because they can, they don't have baggage, they don't need a backstory and they don't need a motive.  They just are.  It is very odd, then, that the central hero of the Inheritance Trilogy is a true and thorough sociopath.  This essay explains why.
  • Inheritance Questions and Answers.  Why do we cling to moral absolutes and high minded ideals in an amoral and relative world?  Short answer: knowing black and white help to clarify the shades of gray.

Some Thoughts on Children’s Literature

Book Reviews

  • Anathem: Big Book, Big Ideas.  Say what you will about Neal Stephenson, but he doesn’t think small; and his novel "Anathem" is proof.  To know what it's about, you really just have to read it.  Hopefully, though, this article will nudge you in the right direction as you do so.

Essential Reading

Martin Luther King

  • A Letter from A Birmingham Jail (PDF).  "We know from painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.  For years now, I have heard the word, 'Wait!'  It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity.  This 'Wait' has almost always meant 'Never.'  We must come to see ... that 'justice too long delayed is justice denied.' ... We have waited for more than 340 years for constitutional and God-given rights ... and there comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.  We are done waiting."

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Greetings from a Horseman

My Collection of Stories

Ray Hunt


LyX-Outline is a forthcoming add-on for the popular document processor, LyX.  By using several powerful tools (including a robust outliner and corkboard), it will make organizing and revising documents much easier.  You can find more information on the project homepage.

Helpful Hints and Useful Things

NIH Grants (LaTeX and LyX Templates).  There are lots of fantastic reasons to use LaTeX and LyX for complicated documents, and few documents are more complicated than an NIH proposal.  Based on the work of others, I put together a modified NIH LaTeX class and corresponding LyX layout.  For more information on the files and modifications, take a look at the detailed overview.

Quick Start: Download the file package (.zip).  Extract the nih folder to somewhere on your system.  Copy nih.cls to your LaTeX package folder and place nih.layout in LyXDir/layouts; then, reconfigure LyX.

To create a new document, use the enclosed “NIH Grant Proposal.lyx” template.  Header and foot information can be adjusted in the “NIH Grant Proposal.lyx” LaTeX preamble.

NIH - Grant

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