If somebody told me that I had to live on a deserted island for a year and could take only two books, here are the two I would pick: (1) How to Definitely Survive on this Particular Deserted Island, by a person who actually survived on this particular island, and (2) New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton.
I have been reading New Seeds for about twenty years now. Every few months I pick it up and re-read a few chapters, and as the years pass, I always get something new and substantial from my reading. If you’re a deeply introspective, spiritual, “God seeking” person, perhaps with a leaning toward contemplative spirituality in the Catholic tradition, New Seeds is, just, simply, a fantastic book. And if you’re not, well, you’ll find it to be absolutely boring and monumentally pointless.
Lately I’ve been thinking of a few quick thoughts Merton lists in New Seeds concerning writing. I was going to build a post around them, but decided instead that I would toy with the idea of putting some Merton quotes on this blog. So I’ll start with those few on writing, and then get into a variety of others. And if you’re one of those people who is going to rush out and buy the book, then good for you. My suggestion is that you skip the first two chapters and read a few of the others. If they get you hooked, then go back to the first two later.