Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is someone I should study. I must examine his categorical rejection of “imitation,” particularly of European models — an articulation of 1840s US literary nationalism. His program for self-reliance is apparently obedience to higher law.

“Plinlimmon’s snake oil,” someone said in reference to Emerson. Tell me about that. Plinlimmon is a character in Melville’s Pierre, and he is a faux writer. What his attitudes toward nationality are, we shall find out.



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This, concisely, was the message of Reeducation: you must be a child.

But that is not true.



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Sagittarius, the Archer

It is the same meditation: how one learned to limit oneself. How one was trained from the beginning to stand aside in life, to be in service. The reason I thought it important to study certain things was that I was so passionate about them that if I actually entered their field I would be unable to stand aside any longer.

What we did in arts and humanities did not involve so much accomplishing things as self-fashioning, or fashioning one’s appearance. We were to become acceptable, then worthy. In that genteel world it was not a question of taking one’s place, but of being permitted to stay. It was much more difficult to learn not to stand aside, although I nearly achieved it and will remember this.

Reeducation, meanwhile, was about subtly undermining either project, and then launching a direct attack on what was left. I reenact this today as self-sabotage and self-criticism. Required is a yet more concerted effort against this, coming from self-love and not discipline.

About the university: I submit that teaching basic skills is no more noble than many other things I would like to do for humanity, and that fewer people are doing. If I am to teach basic skills I want to do it in a coherent program, with coordination, and autonomy, and support. I also want flesh and blood colleagues in field, and paper books, present on my own campus. I want rational management in my department, and I want to work in an atmosphere where it is not dangerous to give voice to one’s views. I do not think this is unreasonable at all.

I keep coming to the conclusion, therefore, that at the very least I need to be in certain libraries outside of Maringouin on a very regular schedule. This and related needs I have must become priority. I know it, yet do not yet make it entirely so.

It is partly, as others keep noting, that in and from Maringouin it takes more work and cash than meets the eye to get where one needs to go. And it is partly my training, to suppress desire and stand aside. My self-sabotage, the refusal to sleep that started well enough as a rebellion against someone else’s desire for death but then became a way to avoid feeling entirely well, is a hard habit to break.

“Addictions,” it is said, are meant to suppress feelings but I wonder. The destructive habits I have had share some features with addictions, but are not entirely the same, perhaps. Mine are about a tension or entanglement between self-expression and suppression of self (they start as the former but end as the latter).

Tomorrow is Sunday, Oxalá’s day. Stand in the light.


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Luca Zingaretti on writing

He has it figured out.


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La méditation de la semaine

There was my dream. There is the fact of having been raised from a certain point with fear, or from the beginning with fear, increasing. Fear and guilt and everyone was always so anxious. I am thinking about this.



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Disposable life



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The Great American Songbooks

I just bought two books I should not have, but I really want this as well.

(My kingdom for a library — or for a university press bookstore one could stand and read in for hours.)


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