Sunday, 3 October 2004
So I'm reading a book I've had for a while, which I originally picked up because I thought it was something else. It's called The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America and it's by Louis Menand. It won the Pulitzer Prize. And it reminded me what I really wish I could do with my life.
The book is the story of four men--Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., William James, Charles Sanders Pierce, and John Dewey--and the shaping they did of American thought. I'd heard of them vaguely before, but I don't think I've read anything by any of them outside of a possible essay or whatnot in an American literature survey class. Before I'd finished the first chapter, I was already searching for my textbook from 11th grade American Lit, because I wanted to dig out the Ralph Waldo Emerson and see if maybe I'm ready for it now.
I couldn't find it, but I did go to the library today and check out two Emerson books, along with a book of essays by Diana Trilling which caught my eye. I'm planning to take them on vacation, and I am fairly certain I am about to embark on a personal cerebral odyssey among the preeminent thinkers of yore in my country.
I don't know why, but suddenly I think that maybe having the same birthday as Emerson (a few years apart, but still) is a good thing. Maybe it's a sign. Because if I could read and think and write essays about it and come up with new angles on things, I would be happy. That's what I want to do with my life. I'm just not entirely sure how one does that anymore. Do we have publications where I can send my essays and articles? Is there an audience for it? I'm not famous, I'm not rich, I'm not really anything special to catch the attention of an editor somewhere and make that person eager to lend a platform to my voice.
I don't even want to be famous, I just want to spend my life thinking and writing about it. Is that the ultimate mental masturbation? Or is it the kind of thing our society could use more of? If people want to read more of my thoughts, that's wonderful, but ultimately it isn't fame, fortune, or graduation speaker status I'm after. I just want to learn and learn and learn, and then get some of all the tumbling ideas and thoughts in my head out of it and onto paper, where maybe I can organize them better.
Good thing we're going into winter when I can be somewhat anti-social and people don't get upset about it.
In other news, we went to Vancouver on Friday to help celebrate the birthday of WebDiva D, and it struck me once again how much I forget that the greater Vancouver area is the Los Angeles of Canada. Sort of, in a completely different way, but it's the west coast movie industry location. I get smacked with this realization every time, because of the fashion. Where I live is not exactly the most fashion-forward cultural area, so I get a quick double-check every time we go up there.
I also noticed a very large presence of the maple leaf and the word Canada on clothing. Is this new? I don't think I have a single item of clothing that proclaims my national identity outright, although most of my fashion sense or lack thereof is a dead giveaway. But I have no USA or American Woman written on any clothing. I don't like that. I thought it would be fun to find something that said Canada and get it, but I would probably not wear something that said America or USA. And that difference in perception between the two is a very sad and telling thing to me.
I won't wear a t-shirt that says AMERICA on it because so many of my fellow countrymen use that word to proclaim their superiority in all ways to other people everywhere. Because my country is not now a symbol of something good and desirable, but the symbol of arrogance and tyranny and destruction. I am not proud of what my country is right now, and I'm not proud of what is being done by those in power. And that makes me both sad and angry.
And I say please, one more time, and ask all my fellow Americans to get registered and VOTE. We have less than a month now. Please, for the love of all that is good and worthwhile in this country, help stop the evil. Don't let it happen again. Do your part and VOTE.
There's way too much going wrong out there right now. I can't keep up on it all. Daily Kos says it better and gets it all in one place, with links and feedback. Go check it out, read back through as much as you can handle. Vote while you still can.
All I really want to do right now is read, so I'm going to do that. I'm going to take my story of thought book and curl up and get cerebral for a while. I hope you all have a great week ahead of you. I will be buried at work and planning for our trip at home.
And one last thing: Please wish a very merry best of all days happy birthday to my darling Mr D. He's 36 today.
I love you!
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