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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Leaving the Internet...

I am leaving the Internet from Friday, December 19th at 3 PM until Monday, January 5, 2009. During that time, I will be inhabiting the Innernet.

Since "there is no there there," you won't be able to contact me, but I'll be sure as hell to find myself and hopefully become enlightened. See you next year.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Reading List 2009 -- Written in Stone

Well, the "Frequency of Silence" Reading List for 2009 is now complete. I am going to set in stone the 2009 titles. I've decided not to add any or replace any of the titles by other books throughout the year. Aside from the philosophical twist, I am going to read voraciously about writing techniques. I am doing so because I think it will help me with my teaching and to develop new methods to help my students. The effort for 2009 is then a two-fold (or a two-prong approach): Teach myself to think philosophically again and not obsessively, and teach myself how to be a better teacher to my students. Here's the list: 2009!

After finishing NaNoWriMo for 2008 I always give myself a little treat. Just like last year, my treat for December is to take it easy, write for leisure rather than a word count and read my favorite "silly-little-book" entitled "A Movable Feast," by Ernest Hemingway. It's a book about Hemingway's young days living in the Paris expatriate artist community that included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Sylvia Beach, Gertrude Stein, etc. The book is more fiction than fact--as most Hemingway non-fiction is--but it is an inspiring book for any aspiring writer (as long as she or he can keep from laughing at the exaggerated facts). For example, while conversing with Ford Madox Ford, Hemingway states that they saw Aleister Crowley cross the street (or something to that effect). It's been widely catalogued as a lie since, but it is interesting and entertaining as hell. It was in this book that I first learned about Jules Pascin and he fast became one of my favorite artists. Also, there are some fabulous "Hemingway at his best" passages like this one:

With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected it to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.

There are way too many things happening right now in my life, and that's the reason why I haven't been able to write as much as I wanted before, or even finish putting together my reading list for 2009. I am hoping to go back to the gym the rest of the month. The rest of this month will determine whether or not I will begin my year on the right foot. A few more pages from Hemingway and then I'll leave it at that.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

The Year of Living Philosophically

I told everyone about a week ago that I had decided to take December off and do little reading and writing in between now and the 1st of January. I am still holding on to that premise, but I've got so much to do before the end of the year. My reading list for 2009, for one, is taking much more time than I originally predicted. This year's list (2008) was shot to pieces around the end of the summer. Some questions circulated on whether it was a good idea to have an actual list to begin with. I am sticking to the decision to do a list, but I am still unclear about what to include. One idea (and a very good one indeed) suggested by a fellow blogger was to read only philosophy for a straight year. I think that's an excellent idea. The question, of course, is "what to include?" I have some ideas but if you have a suggestion after I post my list later this weekend, please let me know. I will begin, as I begin my often philosophical readings, with a re-reading of Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy." I know it's not a very "chic" book when it comes to academic rigor, but it is put in clear and succinct form, and it's a great brush up on the major names throughout the ages. So, for now, that's the book I will begin my list with... I'll be putting it up this coming weekend.

The Academy is full of surprises, really, and my students have taken to "Crime and Punishment" with both trepidation and pleasure. Raskolnikov is not a simple character, but I think for the most part they've been able to digest the main issues of the plot and how the protagonist is the true catalyst (for now) of events.

Somehow I am not suffering from NaNoWriMo withdrawal... more relieved than anything, really, of having survived and succeeded another literary episode of lunacy. Cheers!

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