July 27, 2019. On this day, 363 years ago, Baruch Spinoza was kicked out of the Portuguese Sephardic community in Amsterdam. We know the words that were uttered as he was drummed out of the insular society, but there is so much more that we don’t know about that event.
I’d say I’m sorry for interrupting my normal history and writing and vampire posts with something so modern, but really, I’m not. Because this matters. A lot. And it’s what Spinoza would want, anyway.
What we might see as free will is just an illusion, Spinoza says. If you read this post, it’s because it was always in your nature to do so. If not, well, that was in your nature, too.
I’d like to hear from other writers: How have you approached writing about characters or topics that were out of your league? How did you do research enabling you to write about them with authority? How did you write around things that remained above your pay grade? I want to know how we write about things we don’t understand logically, but get on different level.
The Netherlands was a place where great forces were battling to see their view of the world hold sway. The Dutch Reformed Church with its predicant preachers, strict and orthodox, wanted to have the final world over the standards — both legal and social — being set in the new nation. They were opposed by the Remonstrants, their more liberal-minded rivals who were required to meet in private homes instead of public churches. And perhaps most powerful of all was the merchant class, whose vast wealth kept the heart of Amsterdam beating throughout the Dutch Golden Age.
Amsterdam may have been an incredibly open home to Jewish people in its time, but the welcome mat only stretched so far.
I get that everyone has hobbies, and that whatever your hobby is, someone is going to think you’re a nerd for it. I’ve spent way too much money on yarn and knitting needles. I garden until I hurt and I’m sunburned. I’ve even been accused of LARPing. All of this is laughable in some way to some people.But really, Spinoza’s hobbies …
Something big happened a month ago.
At least, it was to me. I reached the end of a sentence. The sentence was the end of a chapter, and the chapter was the end of a first draft, and that was the first book I ever wrote. Getting there was no small feat. This was the culmination of five efforts of writing the dang thing. By this point, I had lived with the idea of the story in my head for nearly twelve years. It was kinda a big deal.
And also, kind of not.