"The Life of the Mind." Such a lovely, old-fashioned phrase.
It contains a very broad sweep, I admit. But I have done that somewhat intentionally. I discovered limits of my speed at writing new poems, essays, etc., so I didn't want a blog where I simply posted whatever creative pieces I'm currently working on. But "book blogs" abound, and I am fairly unimpressed by most of the ones I've come across; I am not simply going to read a book or two (or three or four) a week and then post reviews.
I wanted to find a way to corral my thoughts into some kind of focus, and also to give myself space to roam around at will. Then I remembered the title of one of my book wish lists: reading, writing, and thinking. It seems so broad, and yet I always know exactly which books belong on this list.
So here are some of the things you might find here.
I am - at my own inimitable snail's pace - making my way through the classics. And by this I mean that I have read Don Quixote, and purchased a notebook in which to take notes on The Pilgrim's Progress. But I press on, and one of the things I would really like to share with you, sweet reader, is my experience in reading through those books which we all know our lives would be enriched by, but which we have such a difficult time getting to. I don't say this in a castigating way; the problem with the classics canon is that it grows, not to mention shifts depending on who's writing it, and even as we speak writers are writing books which you really, really should read.
But I am in love. In love with Pope, and Cervantes, and Sappho, and Montaigne, and even the much-beleaguered Shakespeare. And so I would like a place to discuss my love.
Part of what takes me so bloody long when it comes to reading is that I have to spend so much time writing a response to what I'm reading. I'm not sure it's necessary to compose a twenty-page-long poem in response to Don Quixote, but I also like using it as a bit of an excuse. You can expect to see excerpts of some of the things I'm writing - some in response to books, some from whatever place my poems come from - as well as maybe some reviews of books on writing and the creative process.
I confess: I am using this also as a way to sort of think out loud on some books and ideas I find interesting which do not neatly conform to the sorts of things writers typically talk about. I love things like chaos theory and ethical philosophy, cosmogony and particle physics. Somehow these have all been separated out from one another. I suspect that this is due to the (probably justified) fears literature and art history professors have about being deemed less necessary than their scientific counterparts. However, I have decided to take my cue from organizations like St. John's College and The Great Books Foundation, and bring the sciences and philosophy into my little bloggie conversation with poetry and linguistics.