Tag Archives: reading

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Once again, I circle the blackened sky like a bat. I get myself so worked up in the morning and early afternoon that by evening I fall asleep only to wake up at midnight or so. It’s not so bad, I guess. It’s the not the rhythm of diurnal beings such as typical humans, but at least a late-night drive is filled with light scents of flowers and burnt wood.

Last night I was having a tonic and reading at Fricker’s. It’s just a sports bar, but it has a patio. That part I like very much. However, I happened to be visited by my friend, and master potter, Eliseo. We always have a good conversation, and I appreciate him being in such a simple area.

We talked about many things, mostly art related, but last night’s discussion dabbled in Kokology. This is the study of  心, or in English terms kokoro (“mind” or “spirit”). Its a way of discussing a person’s personality, and how they see the world. This was done in a basic three-part question and answer session called “the Cube test.” The narrator asks the following questions and interprets an understanding of the person answering them:

1. You are alone in a desert. There is a cube near you. What does it look like?

2. There is also a ladder around. What does it look like?

3. There is also a horse around. What does it look like?

Instead of giving away the answers (mine or what the metaphors mean) I’d like to try something. If you would indulge me, please write down the answer to these questions in the comments section of this entry. I’ll put trust in you to not look anything up on the Internet, rather tell me the images that come to your mind first.

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Thursday, April 10th, 2014

I finished reading A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut a couple of days ago and found it a little disappointing. The book felt like Kurt dropped a box of post-it notes at my feet and said “well, I’m out to lunch.” Being the observant reader, I was able to take home a few nuggets of value away from the text though. First and foremost is his quote about the arts. This has been circling social media outlets for some time but I enjoy repeating it.

If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding [his way of making sure the reader knows he’s not being sarcastic from earlier in the book]. The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.  (p. 24, Random House Trade Paperbacks, New York)

How can I argue with that? It dovetails into my quote from watching Press.Pause.Play. The arts aren’t about money, anyway. Really. Sure, we’d all like to roll around on a bed full of money a la Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal, but how many of us will really cash in on that? How many of us have the real support of the people around us and others who know how to make stuff happen for writers, actors, comedians, etc.? We can’t all be professional writers. We all can’t be baseball players. We all can’t be Hollywood-types.

There’s just too many of us, and some of us have friends in very high places. It’s a game to some, but not me. It’s only a game when you make it about money. At this point in my minute existence, all I want is to leave something behind much like a slug that leaves a trail over a sidewalk. You may get the same sense of discomfort or disgust while reading my work, too. Good on you.

The current book I’m reading is Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin, and he would say it’s not a matter of technical ability or money. To him, it’s a matter of creating an idea to circulate material to as many people as possible. This kinetic, wide-eyed thinking is the amusement I miss in my economics classes back in the day. It totally misses the point, the one I just told you in the last paragraph. This is not to be confused with an “it’ll sell itself” attitude, because that’s not what’s being discussed.

Vonnegut also spoke of how he was regarded at English departments. “Critics feel,” he writes, “that a person cannot be a serious artist and also have a technical education, which I had.” (p.15) This is very meaningful to me, as I’ve found myself in the same boat. What I have to ask myself is “do I want to be recognized as a ‘serious artist’?” It’s a legit question, and I suppose I couldn’t say at this point. Maybe if I were younger I’d be gung-ho about the idea. Now, I’m not so sure.

At any rate, I’m still here. I’m still breathing, writing, and working. Maybe someday I can look back and laugh at this? I certainly hope so, because it’s pretty damned depressing.

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Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Hoo, boy! My head’s spinning. I’ve spent the morning finishing Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut and it is easily my favorite work of his. Simply tragic and beautiful and gave me the rare occasion to laugh in public while reading. I’ve resolved to read A Man Without a Country as soon as I possibly can, but there’s work to be done.

It’s 10° C (50° F) here in the Fields today, and the sun is shining! It feels like a heatwave. This is also an opportunity I shouldn’t squander. There’s yard work for a lawn waking from its slumber. There are a few items for the business to wrap up before tomorrow, and a flash fiction piece I’m worrying to death because it’s so unlike what I normally write but I want to finish it anyway.

Yes, that’s why I haven’t posted in a few days. I’m fussing over a piece of writing that isn’t what I’m known for. The whole piece started out benignly enough, but took a wrong turn and ended up in the bad part of town. The NSFW district. Part of me appreciates the break away from my traditional guidelines, while the other berates me for penning two-bit erotica fit only for a smutty romance novel. I need to revise. I need to reshape it to my original focus, but I desperately want to broach the field and still have some form of artistic value.

Aside from this, my weekend has been exceptionally noteworthy. There was an international night at the local university, and I was pleasantly surprised by friends during my weekend pilgrimage to a college town north of here. I made the acquaintance of an acquaintance last night who is starting to date said acquaintance. Poor girl. I felt sorry for her, as her new beau really (and I mean REALLY) needs to step up his game with her. As little as I know on how to court women, he’s even further behind. I wanted to shake him a couple of times and say, “pay attention to your lady! Make her feel like the VIP of the bar!” He didn’t ignore her on purpose. He’s simply ignorant of the dos and don’ts of dating. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Unfortunately, that’s all the time I have to journal right now. I’ve got a lawn to clean up. Happy Sunday to you all!

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Saturday March 8th, 2014

Today I have a couple of things to say for a change! There is reason enough to believe I should break them out into separate posts, as they’re different topics. What fortune! I think I’m more excited about that fact than I am the actual material but what happens next is still a bright spot on the grey-matter-gone-black that is my mental faculties. There may have been a spider or two that scurried away as I cracked open that cellar door.

Last night was shaping up to be a real Emo-city, cut-and-not-so-dry, window-gazer of an evening. All dressed up in suit and tie from a seminar I attended that day, I went to eat dinner out. The hurried, mechanical pace of American restaurants and a waitress too young to flirt with didn’t satisfy what I craved. Fortunately I keep a book at my side, being that dining alone is a way of life here. I thumbed the pages of The Jungle before setting out for a different venue. Ho-hum. That’s not in reference to the book, just the atmosphere.

Next stop was a swankier bar downtown. I’m not entirely sure why I went there. Maybe it’s because the women dress better? With better dress though can come attitudes, especially with the clientele being employees of a large corporate headquarters a few blocks away. Just as a side note, it doesn’t take much money to gain a sense of superiority in the Fields. A yearly salary of $70,000 could cultivate a behavior similar to that seen on “The Real Housewives of…” It’s slightly amusing, as I have been to much more wealthy locations in this country, but mostly tragic… and annoying. Most annoying was the woman so drunk she was laughing like Salacious B. Crumb and loudly.

Scratching cold starts in my journal, I could only stare out the window in efforts to find some sort of inspiration. A video comment by Ira Glass found on Jodie Llewellyn’s blog was running through my mind at the time, and I felt I needed a running start to have the spirit move me. I ended up walking out with little to show for it. The gloom of a failed evening was starting to follow me. So, I did the best I could: change cities.

Driving about 20 minutes north reveals a small college town with a better tone throughout, in my opinion. I set up camp at a sports bar near the highway just to sit and read. Those are what I’ve decided to be the staples in my life right now: reading and writing. Most of the time there was being conscious of a presence sitting next to me. Cocksure and country alpha, I could feel a pissy nature emit from the turned back of a patron. Was he jealous that I was reading, or just a jerk? Later in the evening he was joined by another and his dialog only assured me of the latter. Foul with crass etiquette (i.e. spitting), his  conversation covered a gamut of gems ranging from aggression to sour grapes.

Not quite ready to give up the ship, I stopped by a bar I usually visit for some tonic and whatever else I could squeeze out of Upton Sinclair. I don’t like the idea of being so frequent to an establishment that I either lose interest or wear out my welcome. Last night was not one to mull over that fine point. It turned out to be a great decision, as a girl broke my concentration with an inquiry of the reading material. After a well-received joke, I went back to reading as her significant other body-blocked our field of view. He was definitely jealous of our rapport, and I relished it like a villain.

Stepping outside for another broken promise, I had the pleasure of meeting two gentlemen from the local university. Both were philosophy majors with a interest in books. Naturally they opened up with my selection for the evening and we had a delightful conversation that ran almost an hour in the freezing cold. Steinbeck, Hemingway, Sinclair, Dick, Asimov, Kerouac, Bradbury, Heinlein, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald were all under the same roof. I could not have been happier even if I wasn’t a fan of some of the authors. The spectre of depression had been banished to the void for at least a night. Happily, I drove home content for a change.

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What to read? What to read?

I’d like to grapple with the idea of being “well read” in a typical sense. When we discuss being well read, the assumption is being knowledgeable about books. There is no definitive set of books, as being well read is based on personal judgment. Be warned, there will be plenty of other people who’d love to tell you differently. They misunderstand the rules of conduct, which is similar to a doctor’s visit: you know yourself better than anyone.

While the staff at NPR would like to defecate their britches over the statistical impossibility of being well read, I find persistence a little more useful. Are we to cry into our thimble full of knowledge because the ocean is vast? No, we should take pride in the fact we picked up a thimble and drank from that water. That means we wanted fulfillment beyond basic human sustenance.

As NPR is wont to do, it assumes people naturally want continuous scholastic achievement. This is how out of touch with the ordinary person they are. The typical American doesn’t give a flying fig about reading, and to a lesser extent being well-versed in any genre of music. That concept of erudition is limited to a lesser number of people.

The good folks at NPR reek of guilt, which always gets my dander up. Why? Because it’s often based on the notion you should feel guilty, too.  For example, the author of the NPR piece is lamenting through the whole story statistics will surely make us all feel sad we can’t “see it all.”  I’ve got news for you. The people who punch the cookie on the east side of Hooterville are only interested in Here Comes Honey Boo BooPawn Star, and/or Real Housewives of [insert location]. They’re not going to shed one tear that they didn’t see Pagliacci or read Infinite Jest. They are comfortable in being simple, and find their minds more preoccupied with monetary matters than scholastic.

How could anyone, then, gain a feeling of being well-read or otherwise accomplished? Know thyself. With the proliferation of books and other media, all of us can customize a more meaningful list of reading material. I’m fairly certain my material is in classical literature. Ergo, that’s my emphasis. This will not be the same set of books for anyone else.

Well… well… well… how can we tell if someone is well-read when we have no standards to compare them with, Nate? I mean come on! We all need standards, right? To that point of view, I say I think we’re beyond harnessing any sort of discernible standard. Funny how humans think they can control everything. The upshot of this is people have less of a reason to be judgmental. Great googly-moogly, Nate! How will the literary elite survive without their ability to look down their nose at the Twilight readers?! The short answer is they still will, but for more subjective reasons. I think that more honest than hiding behind the veil of academics.

This idea could be very beneficial to the American educational system. The concept of identifying meaningful literature should be the goal, not telling you what literature is meaningful. It would move them away from their manufacturing mentality, and embrace something a little more elastic. I come from the position it’s more important to exercise discretion than regurgitation.


(If you couldn’t tell, they just melted into a controlled puddle of goo. )

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Do You Like to Watch?

I’m very peculiar about plays. When I’m in the mood to experience theatre, often I find myself rummaging through the Google video section with a less than satisfied attitude about the whole ordeal. My recent problem with missing Hamlet in Buffalo, NY on my way back from Niagara Falls prompted me to pause my perpetual reading of Don Quixote. I’m not sure if I’ll ever finish that book at this rate.

On the other hand, I am still reading other works and being productive in the meantime. I’ve fit many stories into the reading breaks of that novel. I’m not usually a “several irons in the fire” type person, but with reading I can be. Slow and steady will win this race. I also think not having anyone else to talk about it slows up the progress, too. Why bother, when the majority of your neighbors stopped reading after high school, right?

There is a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet starring Patrick Stewart and David Tennant. These actors are well known to me through other shows, namely Star Trek: The Next Generation and Dr. Who, but I’ve come to realize it was modernized. I get really weird with modernization, as it often feels out of place. It’s like putting drywall over plaster, when the plaster is what needed to be reconditioned.  Is that being a “purist”? I have no idea. It simply feels better that way. 

I also find reading a play gives me more enjoyment than watching it on stage or screen. What’s better about it is I can control the delivery of each character as I would want to see it. Sometimes actors and actresses don’t play a part in an interpretation I find plausible and just reading the script allows me to bypass that problem. Is that being a control freak, or having a certain preference?

How about you? Would you rather watch a play or read a play?

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The Read Good Hits of the Summer

As I was tooling around WordPress today, I caught BookPeople and Book of Words posting their list of Summer reading. Since I’m no longer in school, and haven’t been for some time now, below is my current reading list. It just so happens to be Summertime. There is a very high possibility that some of these titles will end up on my Fall and Winter reading lists. The chances very greatly on what home repairs I decide to do, changes in workload, and other adulthood matters that get in the way of everything.

I’ve just finished Black Water Transit by Carsten Stroud per the request of a good friend of mine, and now have the decision of choosing my next read. There are priorities not mentioned on this list, such as finishing Don Quixote by Cervantes AND Ulysses by James Joyce. I can’t leave an incomplete book lying around forever. It drives me nuts. How people can drop a novel indefinitely is beyond me.

These titles are in no particular order, as I usually make up my mind on the spot:

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut
  3. Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut
  4. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
  5. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  6. Diptych Rome-London by Ezra Pound
  7. Steinbeck: A Life in Letters edited by Elaine Steinbeck and Robert Wallsten
  8. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  9. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  10. The Federalist by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
  11. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  12. Aesop’s Fables
  13. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

I noticed more unread books in my bookcase tonight, which are from shopping sprees long ago. It would be to my amazement, if I could plow through half of the above mentioned during the season. In light of that, I left the rest off the list. They’ll have to wait. For outside observers, I’d imagine the Twain would come as a surprise. Wouldn’t have I already read that by now?

There’s a simple explanation for it, really. In American compulsory education, there’s a limited amount of time dedicated to reading books. Since my earliest recollections in the early 80s, that curriculum has changed to compete with not only a multitude of authors but digital fluff. Iconic works get cut from the courses just as easily as anything else, and who wants to read books anyway? That’s for, like, old people or something.

Anyone else care to share the Summer list?

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Dear John,

English: John Steinbeck

Speak of the Devil, here’s the little ball of sunshine now. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not one to poke about garage sales, as I consider my time worth more than panning for questionably valuable knick-knacks on a definitely valuable Saturday. When I received a text during the Junior High Dance about a friend having such an event, I was hesitant. He did mention there would be books available, and therefore I agreed to make an appearance. We have similar taste in literature, and I thought it would be a good way to pick up something I had not considered.

Fortuna spun her wheel upward that day, as I set my eyes upon Steinbeck: A Life in Letters. It’s a second-hand library book, and feels delicious to the touch. Hardback with a laminated cover, it’s glossiness brings me back to the 80s and the pages are incredibly soft. I inhale its pulpy bouquet like a Cabernet.  By the way, that little idiosyncrasy is bound to get me tossed out of Barnes & Noble. I’m sure of it.

Considering I have a stack of books “on deck” (so-to-speak) up to my knee, I’ll have to wait to read in toto. There’s a modern thriller a friend of mine wants me to read. Temptation got the better of me, however, and I cracked it open to a random page. I found this letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, of all people:

Los Gatos

August 13, 1940

Dear Mr. Roosevelt,

I assure you that if there were any alternative, I should not bother you with this letter. When you were kind enough to receive me I said I did not want a job. But after listening to the growing defeatism in the country, especially among business men, I find I have a job whether I want one or not.

When I spoke to you I said that the Germans were winning in the propaganda matters through boldness and the use of new techniques. This has also been largely true in their military activities. At the time I had been thinking that our weapons and tactics would have to come not only from the military minds but from the laboratories.

Perhaps you have heard of Dr. Melvyn Knisely, who has the chair of Anatomy at the University of Chicago. He is a remarkable scientist and an old friend of mine. discussing with him the problem of the growing Nazi power and possibilities for defense against it, he put forth an analysis and a psychological weapon which seem to me so simple and so effective, that I think it should be considered and very soon. I would take it to some one less busy than you if I knew one with imagination and resiliency enough to see its possibilities.

What I wish to ask you is this- Will you see Dr. Knisely and me in a week or ten days- see us privately and listen to this plan? Within half an hour you will know that we have an easily available weapon more devastating than many battleships or you will not like it at all. Afterwards-if you agree-we will discuss it with any one you may designate on the National Defense Council.

Please forgive this informality, but frankly, I don’t know anyone else in authority whom I can address informally.

May I have a yes-no reaction to this letter at your convenience?

Sincerely yours,

John Steinbeck

The rest of the story came from skeptical White House staff suggesting FDR would delegate this task to lower-level personnel. To their surprise, he agreed and saw the writer and scientist on September the 12th. The idea brought forth by Knisely was to scatter high-quality German tender over enemy lines and in copious amounts. The president was in favor of the idea, but the men in the U.S. Treasury put the kibosh on the notion. Why? It doesn’t say, but one could speculate.

This letter, in conjunction with the forward, threw me in a state of shock. This did not read like the Steinbeck I read in Of Mice and MenThe Grapes of Wrath, and The Pearl. His works read like a case of irritable bowel syndrome with flair ups occurring at a moment’s notice. They were all rough and prickly and gritty, and I pictured him wearing a grimace throughout the whole writing process. The above letter was not that at all. It was polished, genteel, and even a little reverent. On thinking about it, he was trying to be persuasive with the then President of the United States. One can’t be too cocksure and coarse with such a person, although there was that one time FDR decided to serve hot dogs to the Queen of England. Oh, Frankie, you scamp!

It does present a jarring situation for me, as I’ve now been provided with two faces of a well-known author. Steinbeck was noted to be very quiet in person, and preferred writing letters instead. He could easily write seven letters a day before starting on his regular work. It got his juices flowing. I can certainly relate to that, but it does get me to wonder. How do I want any reader to see me? Would I prefer to keep my actual personality a secret and let my books produce an idea in their heads? Would it be an exciting extra for people to know me in reality? Would it matter? Do I even have a different presence in writing versus real life?

I suppose most of this will have to be answered later, as I’m not on Steinbeck’s level. It’s still free to think about though, and an interesting set of questions at that.

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The House of the Seven Gables: Taking the Mickey

PLEASE NOTE: This post will ultimately contain spoilers about the book. If you’re not the type of person who likes endings disclosed, please return at a later date. 

Who doesn’t love a quasi-supernatural novel with a predictable ending? *raises hand emphatically*

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Get a haircut, ya hippy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I finally, finally, finally finished reading The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I chip away at reading when I can. Depending on how interesting the book turns out, it can take quite a while with (better) diversions. As you may suspect already, I wasn’t a huge fan. This is very disappointing, as I thought The Scarlet Letter often over-simplified and dismissed as a high school read. Those conclusions are riddled in misconception, as people miss Hawthorne’s other messages in the novel. The crossover lecture here being the vices of ambition.

1966 ... Star Trek   'The Man Trap'

Ol’ Nate could have gained great insight from DeForest’s pithy diagnostic abilities. By the way, Happy Birthday Big D! (Photo credit: x-ray delta one)

Why The House of the Seven Gables was such a letdown is easy for me to summarize. It was too little, too late and neatly folded up in a syrupy storybook ending. Jaffrey Pyncheon received his just deserts for placing his ends above familial compassion, and gets mocked gratuitously in an ancestral chair. Hawthorne obviously had a sturdy whip, because that judge was beaten like a horse and a dead one at that. He’s dead, Jim. For the love of God, please stop.

After plowing through the day-to-day turmoil of the Pyncheon family, Hawthorne decides it would be a wonderful idea to dump a truckload of back story in the final chapter. At that point, people like me have already surmised (and correctly at that) the judge set up a dastardly plot to send Clifford Pyncheon to prison. Us hard-working readers are also smart enough to know Holgrave is related to Maule in some capacity. After all, what other family outside of the Pyncheons and Maules would give a flying fig about the broken down mansion? No one. NO ONE, I TELL YOU!

The pleasant surprises for me were the brief glimpses of personal philosophy woven into the novel in the meantime. Let us examine a quote from a wild-eyed Clifford Pyncheon:

“My impression is, that our wonderfully increased and still increasing facilities of locomotion are destined to bring us round again to the nomadic state. You are aware, my dear sir,–you must have observed it, in your own experience,–that all human progress is in a circle; or, to use a more accurate and beautiful figure, in an ascending spiral curve. While we fancy ourselves going straight forward, and attaining, at every step, an entirely new position of affairs, we do actually return to something long ago tried and abandoned, but which we now find etherealized, refined, and perfected to its ideal. The past is but a coarse and sensual prophecy of the present and the future. To apply this truth to the topic now under discussion.–In the early epochs of our race, men dwelt in temporary huts, of bowers of branches, as easily constructed as a bird’s nest, and which they built,–if it should be called building, when such sweet homes of a summer solstice rather grew than were made with hands,–which Nature, we will say, assisted them to rear, where fruit abounded, where fish and game were plentiful, or, most especially, where the sense of beauty was to be gratified by a lovelier shade than elsewhere, and a more exquisite arrangement of lake, wood, and hill. This life possessed a charm, which, ever since man quitted it, has vanished from existence. And it typified something better than itself. It had its drawbacks; such as hunger and thirst, inclement weather, hot sunshine, and weary and foot-blistering marches over barren and ugly tracts, that lay between the sites desirable for their fertility and beauty. But, in our ascending spiral, we escape all this. These railroads–could but the whistle be made musical, and the rumble and the jar got rid of–are positively the greatest blessing that the ages have wrought out for us. They give us wings; they annihilate the toil and dust of pilgrimage; they spiritualize travel! Transition being so facile, what can be any man’s inducement to tarry in one spot? Why, therefore, should he build a more cumbrous habitation than can readily be carried off with him? Why should he make himself a prisoner for life in brick, and stone, and old worm-eaten timber, when he may just as easily dwell, in one sense, nowhere,–in a better sense, wherever the fit and beautiful shall offer him a home?” ~ Chapter XVII, “The Flight of Two Owls”

Even 160 years ago, people were suffering from wanderlust. It points out the problem with settlement and the human spirit. I think the beat poets would have made fast friends of Nater Potater.

Another point in favor of a flexible society is made by Holgrave:

“But we shall live to see the day, I trust,” went on the artist, “when no man shall build his house for posterity. Why should he? He might just as reasonably order a durable suit of clothes,–leather, or gutta percha, or whatever else lasts longest,–so that his great-grandchildren should have the benefit of them, and cut precisely the same figure in the world that he himself does. If each generation were allowed and expected to build its own houses, that single change, comparatively unimportant in itself, would imply almost every reform which society is now suffering for. I doubt whether even our public edifices–our capitols, state-houses, court-houses, city-halls, and churches–ought to be built of such permanent materials as stone or brick. It were better that they should crumble to ruin, once in twenty years, or there-abouts, as a hint to the people to examine into and reform the institutions which they symbolize.” ~ Chapter XII, “The Daguerreotypist”

It’s an interesting thought, and one that isn’t completely without merit. Society needs change. Buildings will crumble, and philosophies revised. What Hawthorne does not take into consideration is the economic cost of constant replacement. Municipalities are already struggling to keep up with the demands of expansion, let alone the replacement of existing structures. Reinventing the wheel sounds great, but we have to build on it someday.

This is the reason I don’t give up on books. There has never been a time where I said, “I didn’t get one ounce of value out of that book!” To be fair, I’ve never read Twilight. I may have to revise my viewpoint one day. For now, I’m happy with what I gleaned from this novel. That doesn’t make it any less of a pain in the neck to read, but you don’t have to take my word for it.

Reading Rainbow

Hey! That’s MY line! (Photo credit: Mad African!: (Broken Sword))

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The Delight of Completion

I must confess that the destination has always thrilled me more than the journey. It makes me recall the pop philosophical phrase that can easily be pasted on possessions, such as t-shirts or motivational posters. There are few things I enjoy more than the feeling of accomplishment. No amount of gold or precious jewels could ever persuade me otherwise. It’s progress. I love progress. It’s addicting.

This reflection comes after reading Nordhoff and Hall’s Mutiny on the Bounty. I don’t necessarily consider myself an voracious reader, but have noted I’m probably more well-read than most of my contemporaries. That will never mean there isn’t a group of people head and shoulder above me, because there always will be. However, to be in possession of new knowledge is invigorating. I find such invigoration one of my key motivators.

I have decided to clean up Joyce’s Ulysses and possibly even Cervantes’s Don Quixote, before moving on to unopened books. I’m confident I can make progress soon with it all.

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