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About meI'm a native Nebraskan from the Great Plains, which is where the American West begins. Traveling west on Interstate 70 in Kansas, you notice the landscape changes dramatically, as the vast rolling hills of the high plains begin to stretch all the way to the horizon for the next 200 miles or so. When you finally come to U.S. Highway 77 you have in fact reached "my street," and if you turn to the right there and drive about an hour to the north, you would then come to Alcove Springs, near a famous ford on the Oregon Trail close to Marysville, Kansas, and cross about fifteen minutes later into Nebraska, where in another twenty minutes you'd come to the actual stretch of road in Beatrice, across from the Court House, that I lived on during my years in junior and senior high school.
Working at the local Beatrice airport while still a student, I learned to fly. Upon graduation, I enlisted in the Marines before going to college at the University of Florida, followed by Virginia Theological Seminary, and then being ordained an Episcopal priest, spending six-and-a-half years in the parish ministry of the Diocese of Florida.
A profound change occurred at the the height of the Sixties when I was given permission to work secularly while still remaining a priest, where I soon entered a lengthy doctoral program "to develop a fresh approach to human experience." Translated out of dissertationese this eventually became the book The Stuff of a Lifetime: Self, Sense, Soul, and Spirit in Human Experience.
I am professionally active in all four of my primary interests: philosophy, psychology, theater, and religion. With such emphases as these my lifelong fascination has been with the spoken as well as with the enacted word, linked to the written word too,of course, as found in my plays, music, stories, essays, and a small amount of poetry. (To date, less than a fifth of my books have been cataloged.) -G.R.
About my libraryWhen is a book more than a book? When it's at Library Thing, where it opens out onto the world.
Much of my library lay in storage for over ten years. Then, moving to another city, I came across Library Thing on the Internet and was taken with its scope and concept. I resurrected my sunken library, box by box, after seasons of their growing musty or being damaged in storage. At first, I thought fifty to a hundred carefully selected books could jump-start a sufficient connection between me and my books, and, after so many years, serve to get the current flowing as before. What I failed to foresee was what sparks such as these would generate and set in motion. Picture, if you will, the undersea site of some huge sunken ship (out of respect, not the Titanic, but something very sizable and left largely intact). What I'd unwittingly devolved into over the recurring cycles of years was akin to making occasional salvage runs to find and, if lucky, retrieve items thought to be there. Now envision also, that as the initial connecting sparks flashed and energy returned to encrusted lines and cables, the engines revived, lights flickered and came back on, gears creaked as they moved haltingly, and gigantic rusty shafts turned and began to drive; and instead of only the tiny search vehicle bubbling its way back from the dark depths beneath it, the whole ship arose drifting upward, broke through the waves on the surface of the sea, and started to sail once more. That's what finding Library Thing has been like for me.
Surprisingly . . . what's emerging is a library reconfiguring itself into the following sections:
I. Theater & Film: The largest single section of the library standing, it is drawn from over sixty years of direct involvement in theater, first through mainly acting in plays, and later through writing them as well -- which carries over into the present with five musical theater pieces as current works-in-progress (see p.2, entitled "The Human Realm," of my homesite at the Authors Guild for the plot synopses of these);
II. Science & History: Traditional and self-explanatory, these volumes reflect the customary divisions of the major scientific disciplines and fields of study.;
III. Language, Literature & Literary Arts: Authors arranged alphabetically, starting with Anna Akhmatova and running through W.B. Yeats, with a few select anthologies inserted;
IV. Reference Works: Dictionaries, Grammars, Usage books, Encyclopedias, Lexicons, and the likes thereof;
V. Philosophy: Since it was my major as an undergraduate, the whole tree is largely represented here with its many intertwining branches;
VI. Cultural Literacy: A wide-ranging series of books encapsulating expansively, though not glibly, "Cultures, Countries, and Critters." Though most biographies are found here arranged alphabetically, they are cataloged as the tripartite collection Biographies, Autobiographies, & Memoirs, with individual volumes interspersed in their originating fields and housed there when appropriate). The main language-learning programs and volumes in my library are German, Spanish, and Italian -- in addition to Greek and Hebrew for Biblical studies. And, because of its having long since transcended national boundaries, thus influencing languages and cultures far beyond its own, the full Shakespearian canon, coupled with commentaries and tomes of every sort (the Bevington version, for example), form a veritable "village" of culture-clusters residing here. (NOTE: An example of an entry in the 'Critters' category would be Seabiscuit, done with full equine honors and a ceremony in the winner's circle, of course.);
VII. A. Bible, Religion, & Spirituality: (Three times the size of any standing section of the library, which, though "backstacked" in several storage boxes, keeps incrementally inching its way onto the expanding entries of my developing LT catalog.) Old & New Testament, translations of Scriptures and attendant relevant writings -- with source texts in Greek and Hebrew, amplified by extensive commentaries on these -- influence of Greek ideas on Christianity, history of religions, history of Christianity, liturgical worship, forming of the Church as an institutional entity and historical reality, and in the primary theological and practicing religious traditions found over several historical periods, right up to modern times, along with the other religious faiths of the world; B. Psychology & Psychotherapy: (primarily as developed in Europe and the U.S from the 19th Century to the present), the brain, higher cortical functioning, major schools of psychology, psychotherapy, counseling, et al;
VIII. The Sixties And All That: A widely varied collection ranging over the extensive issues and events of the late 60's, with its reverberations rippling into the decades that followed;
IX. A. Anatomy & Physiology: Form and Function of the living human organism, Fitness, Exercise, Health, Nutrition, and its nurturing inwardly and outwardly; B. Formative Psychology: A particularly distinct, solidly grounded, pervasive approach in a class by itself -- consisting principally of the pioneering work founded by Stanley Keleman, including his fourteen years of work collaborating with Joseph Campbell (whose related writings on mythology are appropriately housed here);
X. Music: Major Classical Western composers, from opera at its inception, then metamorphosing into operetta in Europe and spreading to the U.S., where it blossomed into full-blown Musical Theater, merging with Jazz, big bands, popular, rock, and so on up to now. Also contains: use of voice, and vocal development (all three registers), in singing as well as in acting onstage, and in the other performing arts in radio, recordings, film, and television;
XI. Native Americans, the Great Plains, and the West: A large collection of books (many are oversize books bearing lush photos of land, sky, and rivers, with graphic foldouts of vast territorial, up to the time of the Lewis and Clarke Expedition (1804-1806) and concentrating heavily on the region from then on);
XII. Flight: Aeronautical & Astronomical (Space). Applied principles of soaring, aircraft (vintage and modern), and rocketry;
XIII. Multimedia & Audio-Visual Section: Some sixty years worth of vinyl records, audio-tapes, CD's, VHS cassettes, and DVD's.
(So then, these are my rescued books, with eighty percent of them still to be cataloged, the greater portion of which have all been read. Many survived a raging fire and later a flash flood affecting those in the bottom shelves, leaving signs of what they went through scorched or watermarked upon them; and which, since I hand-scan each book individually, can clearly be seen if you peer closely at their covers displayed here. Were you able to look inside them, you'd find the pages of most sprinkled with lines or margin notes running throughout, as well as on the pages available at extreme front and back. It's a rudimentary "retrieval system" that pairs any notation with its page numbers, enabling me to readily locate and retrieve the passages and points that particularly stood out.)
May your own endeavors prosper here in whatever you hope they bring your way. And a toast to Library Thing! As Zorba might have put it, "Hey, Boss . . . have you ever seen a more splendiferous cloud!?" -G.R.
Creator/Administrator of the following groups at Library Thing: Gateways into the world, and the human realm: Experiencing . . . , working closely with Stanley Keleman (prominently featured in and throughout my second book) in a further elaboration of his oeuvre in Formative Psychology as it has grown to fruition from its early days in the 1970s right on up to now, and also The Artistic Endeavor, for those interested or working in the arts. (The blog LINKING these together is www.sensingtheway.com. It's the Grand Central Station of my sites, and my "main train blog" that runs between them to keep all of them up to date -- with both www.gatewaysintotheworld.com and www.prairywriter.com (entitled "Out Where The Big Waves Are") and their articles treating individuals of world-renown -- and finally, as the train's caboose, the most wide-ranging and recent one of them all, "The Splendor of Human Seasons") -- with the two domains that are my chief professional work sites being readied at Yahoo. The reason for housing these LT-connected endeavors at WordPress is the ease with which media-enhanced renderings can be further developed there. (A quick glance at Sensing the Way's "To Begin!" page, with its full array of video clips, gives a clear indication of just how and why this is so.)
As an integral part of the overall network, my Library Thing profile carries notifications of what is going on in it elsewhere as well.
SOME NETWORK POSTINGS (at Authors Guild, WordPress, GoodReads, Amazon's Authors Central, and elsewhere). ON KAZANTZAKIS, SAINT-EXUPÉRY, AND AMELIA EARHART: Though Kazantzakis's life and works must be taken together to reflect all they contain, it's important to set apart these two from the combustible controversy -- which, after a bitter seven-year battle in the Greek courts, was decided in favor of his wife Eleni's claim along with that of her adopted son. The Kazantzakis group at Library Thing bears the same name as the title of that blog's initial posting, "The Arresting Life & Writings of Nikos Kazantzakis (with an incidental review of his Report To Greco)." The second article on the same blog recounts a still-vivid recollection of my meeting Eleni at her home on 32 Avenue William Favre in Geneva on a sun-filled afternoon at the end of summer in 1988. The third article, "The Fresh Biographical Works of Stacy Schiff" will touch on how Schiff goes about her task in the often arid reaches of rigorous biographical writing. These three postings will be followed by condensed reviews of the two matchless biographies: NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS: A Biography Based On His Letters, by Eleni Kazantzakis, and SAINT-EXUPÉRY: A Biography, by Stacy Schiff. These, and the next pair, also biographies, will open with a piece entitled "The Lingering Effects Left By The Lives Of Those Who Vanish", (summarizing half-a-dozen books on both Saint-Exupéry and Amelia Earhart, followed by another pair on Marlene Dietrich, and books on other figures yet to come.)
January, 2013. (ANNOUNCEMENT: A limited-engagement show at the Alliance Theatre took place of Noel Coward's STILL LIFE, which was made into the 1945 film Brief Encounter, starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard.)
The article on Nikos Kazantzakis is at Word Press and was also posted by Εκδόσεις Καζαντζάκη - Kazantzakis Publications in Athens, Greece (whose ongoing cooperation and support helps to make this possible). A link to the complete article along with its full printed-text is found at LibraryThing on the Kazantzakis group page. This group is open to any who wish to take part. As the WordPress blog continues to roll out the other articles already referred to, on the new blog "The Splendor of the Human Seasons" put in place yesterday, and construction can now commence on "the human realm: Experiencing ..." as the major remaining activity in this personal network of ongoing sites. Begun in 2008 as a private group, but now in the hands of Amazon.com, it is a sprawling online operation with genuine facilitation by its numerous moderators at every point! If you've not kept up with all of its modifications, you'll probably come away quite surprised.
Meanwhile, the rest of my personal web activities move ahead: the aforementioned articles on Eleni Kazantzakis, Saint-Exupéry and Amelia Earhart can proceed, as can the cataloging of the "Tillich shelf," on the philosophical theologian Paul Tillich (1886-1965), and be completed, allowing then for the subsequent reviewing of each of them (at least 25 books!) along with the already posted: Paul Tillich: His Life & Thought, Vol. 1: Life… by Wilhelm & Marion Pauck, entitled, "Putting Into Words The Life Of A Man Of Thought".
Sunday, February 9, 2014 --G. Ruyle
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Favorite authorsAnna Akhmatova, Steven Bach, Samuel Beckett, Saul Bellow, Walter Benjamin, Nikolai Berdyaev, Sven Birkerts, Joseph Brodsky, Jacob Bronowski, Jerome Bruner, Robert Brustein, Martin Buber, James Cagney, Elias Canetti, Ernst Cassirer, C. P. Cavafy, Dick Cavett, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Erwin Chargaff, Anton Chekhov, Harold Clurman, Joseph Conrad, Jill Ker Conway, Noël Coward, E. E. Cummings, Charles Darwin, Annie Dillard, Erasme de Rotterdam, Oriana Fallaci, Theodor Fontane, Sigmund Freud, José Ortega y Gasset, Ira Gershwin, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Erving Goffman, William Goldman, Frederick C. Grant, Vasily Grossman, Jim Harrison, Moss Hart, William Least Heat-Moon, Erich Heller, Robert Henri, Hermann Hesse, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Victor Hugo, Karl Jaspers, Sidney M. Jourard, Tony Judt, Elia Kazan, Helen Kazantzakis, Nikos Kazantzakis, Alfred Kazin, Sam Keen, Stanley Keleman, Søren Kierkegaard, Hans Küng, Arthur Laurents, Gene Lees, Karl Mannheim, Thomas Mann, Gabriel García Márquez, Floyd W. Matson, Czesław Miłosz, Michel de Montaigne, James Muilenburg, Robert Musil, Pablo Neruda, Friedrich Nietzsche, Blaise Pascal, Boris Pasternak, Fritz Perls, Rainer Maria Rilke, Marilynne Robinson, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, William Saroyan, Stacy Schiff, Harold C. Schonberg, William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, John D. Sheridan, Constantin Stanislavski, Paul Tillich, Ivan Turgenev, Mark Twain, Kenneth Tynan, Miguel de Unamuno, Simone Weil, Walt Whitman, Ludwig Wittgenstein, P. G. Wodehouse, Irvin D. Yalom (Shared favorites)
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Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway
Real nameGene Ruyle
LocationLawrenceville, Georgia (U.S.A.)
Account typepublic, lifetime
Member sinceMar 6, 2011
Currently readingThe Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart by Mary S. Lovell
Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov) by Stacy Schiff
Higher Gossip: Essays and Criticism by John Updike
A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America by Stacy Schiff
The Life of Saul Bellow : to fame and fortune, 1915-1964 by Zachary Leader
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