Monday, October 20, 2014

Fight to the finish …

… The Tomatoes Could Be Terrible. Write Anyway. | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

There's writing, and then there's writing …

… Are Writers Born or Made? Jack Kerouac on the Crucial Difference Between Talent and Genius | Brain Pickings. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Back to basics …

Conference speakers say the liberal arts must return to a purer form to survive @insidehighered.



Once you grasp the distinction between training, which is instrumental — how to do something — and education, which is formative — how to become someone — the problem becomes much clearer.

What is you reason for reading …,

… beyond eastrod: Get off your ass! Either burn those books or read those books. What a choice!



A friend of mine, a psychiatrist, once told me it was a bad idea to ask a patient why he had done something or said something. Much better to ask what his reason was for doing or saying something. 
Asking why gave him an opening to explain matters in terms of factors outside his control. His reason could only be his own.
I've been reading for so long that the practice has simply become second nature. But I got into it because I enjoyed it and because I enjoyed it I became good at it. It is, after all, a co-creative act. The reader actualizes the potency of the text (to put it Thomistically). This is called fun. It can also be enlightening, because it forces you to look at and think about life in a more focused and intense manner than ordinarily. This, in turn, over time enriches one's being. The knower and the known are one, as St. Thomas noted. The more you know, the more you are. Reading is one of the principal ways of enriching the soul. If you have not read, say, The Magic Mountain, your life is to that extent impoverished. The same is true if you have never really looked at a Botticelli or listened to Bach's B-minor Mass. Living is not the same as making one.

A thought for today …

Only divine love bestows the keys of knowledge.
— Arthur Rimbaud, born on this date in 1854

FYI...

Old man and river …

… Bryan Appleyard — Hearing the Underground River. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I have heard Glass's music live only once, a performance of one of his piano concertos, presumably the first. It was entertaining, but not terribly memorable. Arvo Pärt and John Tavener I rather like. Morten Lauridsen is quite good.

Professor of law-breaking …

Paul Davis On Crime: The Napoleon Of Crime: Sherlock Holmes And Professor James Moriarty Are Perfect Foes.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Worth attending …

… Brigadoon at Tomilinson Theater – Temple Musical Theater | Fox Chase Review.

A reminder …

THE GREEN LINE CAFE
READING & INTERVIEW SERIES
PRESENTS:

CHARLOTTE BOULAY
author of Foxes on the Trampoline

&

YOLANDA WISHER
author of Monk Eats an Afro

Reading & Interview

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 7 PM

HOSTED BY
LEONARD GONTAREK & LILLIAN DUNN

THE GREEN LINE CAFE IS LOCATED
AT 45TH & LOCUST STREETS

(Please note the address, there are
  other Green Line Café locations.)
        greenlinecafe.com

     This Event Is Free


Yolanda Wisher was born in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and raised in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where she was named the first poet laureate at age 23. A Cave Canem graduate, she received an M.A. in Creative Writing/English from Temple University. Wisher co-edited the international anthology Peace is a Haiku Song with Sonia Sanchez in 2013. In 2014, she was named a Founding Cultural Agent for the US Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC). Her first book of poems, Monk Eats an Afro , was published this year by Hanging Loose Press. She lives in Germantown with her husband Mark Palacio, a doublebassist, and her son Thelonious.





Charlotte Boulay grew up in the Boston area and attended St. Lawrence University. She earned her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she taught composition and creative writing for five years. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Slate, The Boston Review, and Crazyhorse, among other journals. Foxes on the Trampoline is her first book, and was published in April 2014 by Ecco Press/HarperCollins. She lives with her husband in Philadelphia.

That question again...

Endgame …

… Bryan Appleyard — Clive James: Dying in Art. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



We cannot have been conscious of our birth as we will be — and increasingly are as time passes — of our death. But we cry at birth, just as we may at death.

Inquirer reviews …

… 'Perfidia' a blood-soaked, sprawling saga.

… The man behind the Mütter Museum.

… 'Lila' a luminous, warming tale.

… The defining influence of George Washington.

Memory on its own terms …

… Speaking of Memory: Nabokov’s Folded Fabric | The Los Angeles Review of Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This is a deeply skeptical exploration of our attempts, in a spinning world of evolving phenomena, to define a fixed, concrete Self, to define anything in stasis; that is, it is less concerned with how a character moves through time than how time flows through a singular consciousness. And the book is filled with moments like this — of Nabokov pointing and saying, “Look at that! Can you believe that?” He is not making a case for a post-Einstein universe; he’s discovering that universe with a childlike delight, and inviting the reader to discover it with him.

It works for me …

… Drinking Coffee, for Your Health - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A thought for today …

One of the functions of intelligence is to take account of the dangers that come from trusting solely to the intelligence.
— Lewis Mumford, born on this date in 1895 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Submissions wanted …

… CNF Wants Weather, Boundaries, Teachers, & Crazy You!! | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.   

Tracking decline …

… The Bad News About the News | Brookings Institution. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



There was word online this morning about a CBS News operative who had to delete a tweet in which, disagreeing with something Rand Paul had said regarding Ebola, wondered sarcastically when he became a doctor. It did not take long for people to inform her that Paul is an eye surgeon. Obvious the CBS person had not seen the NBC report about Paul spending part the Senate recess this past summer performing free eye surgery in Central America. What the consumer of news should take from this, I think, is that the CBS operative is an ignoramus, just the sort of person the news business does not need and in this day cannot afford.
Of course, there's this:
Only about a third of Americans under 35 look at a newspaper even once a week, and the percentage declines every year. A large portion of today's readers of the few remaining good newspapers are much closer to the grave than to high school. Today's young people skitter around the Internet like ice skaters, exercising their short attention spans by looking for fun and, occasionally, seeking out serious information. Audience taste seems to be changing, with the result that among young people particularly there is a declining appetite for the sort of information packages the great newspapers provided, which included national, foreign and local news, business news, cultural news and criticism, editorials and opinion columns, sports and obituaries, lifestyle features, and science news.
So maybe our CBS operative is representative of her generation.

The antidote for ignorance is curiosity, and curiosity means being in interested in something besides the stuff you already know about.

The lowdown on getting high …

… Zealotry of Guerin: Absinthe (Degas), Sonnet #207.

A thought for today …

Some other faculty than the intellect is necessary for the apprehension of reality.
— Henri Bergson, born on this date in 1859

Catching up with Herodotus …

… Father of History | The Weekly Standard. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)




Temperamentally, literarily, and methodoligically, Herodotus and Thucydides could scarcely have been further apart. Thucydides’ strength was in analysis, Herodotus’ in description. Concision, dazzling formulation, and intellectual penetration were where Thucydides’ power lay, while expansion and sympathy for human difference was Herodotus’ forte. Herodotus appears to have been a man of wider tolerance, with a more generous nature and distinterested outlook than Thucydides. Herodotus’ motive was pure knowledge; Thucydides, meanwhile, wrote under the cloud of having been exiled for 20 years from Athens because of his failure to arrive in time to rescue the Athenian forces at the Battle of Amphipolis early in the Peloponnesian War.
I read Herodotus when I was in high school. I still have the volumes downstairs. And I remember him as great company throughout. Maybe that's where I got my lifelong preoccupation with trying to see things just as they are.

You can look it up …

… Paul Davis On Crime: Crime Fiction Dictionary: From Cozies To Hick Lit And Everything In Between.

The Danish connection …

… Flannery O'Connor's Kiss of Death - Asymptote. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Jesus and Vedanta …

… Learning To Be God - Philosophy and Life. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)



It is certainly true that an authentic religious life centers on prayer and that genuine prayer is a path to discovery, and that what one discovers may prove both surprising and disturbing.

Ha ha ha...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Something I forgot …

… Nico would have turned 76 yesterday.

Blogging note …

To celebrate my birthday of a few days ago, Debbie and I are attending an afternoon Philadelphia Orchestra performance of Janáček's Glagolitic Mss, a personal favorite of mine. Then we'll have an early dinners somewhere. So blogging will resume sometime later.

One down, three to go …

… Detectives Beyond Borders: James Ellroy, historical novelist.

And the winners are …

… Librarians Choose the Best Teachers in Children's Literature | The New York Public Library. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Marking a centenary …

… John Berryman Is Reconsidered in 4 New Books - NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The Poe case …

… The Poet Edgar Allan Poe: Alien Angel by Jerome McGann Review | New Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


We demand of our poets, Romantic or not, more than watchmaking—more sublime messiness, more anarchic personality, more moral substance, more matter, than Poe was willing to allow, which is why his verse sounds so bloodless next to Whitman's, so inconsequential next to Dickinson's, and so mechanical next to almost anyone else's. Style for Poe was the almost negligible outcome of over-rationalized composition, and not the organic outcrop of substance. (For a hammered-home contrast, look again at any one of the sonnets of Gerard Manley Hopkins to see how the singing and the song are one.)

When artists dine …

… Michael Dirda reviews ‘The Immortal Evening’ by Stanley Plumly - The Washington Post. (Hat tip, Dave Lull..)

A thought for today …

There are only Epicureans, either crude or refined; Christ was the most refined.
— Georg Büchner, born on this date in 1831

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Shutting down...

FYI …

… Copyediting from A to X | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

The world and us …

… First Known When Lost: The Center Of The Universe.

Life and the library …

… Anecdotal Evidence: `It Is Quite an Education'.

Franny and Dinky …

As the Power Goes Out, Salinger’s “Franny” Puts the Dinky On the Map | Town Topic. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

Optimism despite …

… Leonard Cohen’s Triumphant “Problems” | Tommywood. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Worrisome indeed …

… Obama administration has secured 526 months of jail time for leakers - Boing Boing.



502 months more than in all of American history.