A Bible, a journal, and three short works.
Nathaniel Martin sailed with his friend and fellow-naturalist Stephen Maturin on two long sea voyages in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, first as the ship's chaplain and later as Maturin's assistant surgeon. Never much of a fist at sermonizing, Martin took to writing and publishing impolitic tracts that offended the Royal Navy Board and prevented him from returning as a chaplain.
Martin lost an eye to an owl, and, as long as Martin's eye was single, O'Brian let him rival Captain Jack Aubrey for Maturin's time and friendship. Martin married between voyages, however, and his newfound obsession with providing for his family began to make him tedious company for Maturin. (Banality is the worst symptom a character can present with in these novels.) Martin's overheated conscience led him to an end straight out of Hawthorne, with whom he shared his first name.
These are the sermons he never wrote.
1 You get labeled. Some of these labels are accurate, and some are not. Some are helpful, and some are not. All labels are true: they accurately describe how the labeler sees the labeled one or how he wants the labeled one to see herself or be seen by others. All labels are false: even [...]
I often find myself collecting quotes not to comment on them but simply to juxtapose them, to put them on the same page and watch them defend, refute, or qualify one another. A really good pairing seems to create an energy, and sometimes a friendship, much like imaginative and successful pairings among guests at a dinner party. And by the time my quotes have found their place cards, I find I have nothing to say and less reason to say it.
I went into the Bose Outlet at the mall last week and tried on two pairs of noise-canceling headphones. One pair sat on my ears, and the other surrounded my ears like cups, like the fat headphones my uncle had with his hi-fidelity system and his reel-to-reel tape player when I was a child. The [...]
I love East Coker. I do. Last night I patched up my thirty-year-old copy of Eliot’s Four Quartets with clear packaging tape. When I was in college, one of my friends paid twenty dollars to rebind my twenty-five-dollar, leather-bound King James Bible for my birthday. But by last night no one had offered to rebind [...]