Digging, two duties, European Union, 'how much do I like myself?', and more
Seven links to worthwhile thin(g/k)s
Dispatch from Toluca Lake, CA
Hello dear reader,
I hope your weekend promises to be everything you need it to be. We are in the month of May! Los Angeles is hitting about 95+ degrees right now, and the pool is my only saving grace from this (personally unpleasant) heat. That’s where I’ll be all weekend — poolside reading. I am happy to report no side effects from last week’s second dose of the vaccine, other than a sore arm that lasted about 24 hours.
Here are seven links to bits of the world I have been exploring this week, shared with the hope that you will find them to be an inspiring springboard for deeper thinking.
Video review of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. Please give it a listen/watch, and like/subscribe/comment if time and disposition allow!
Opening a small-town bookstore — the Painted Porch — in the midst of the pandemic, by way of Ryan Holiday (author of Daily Stoic).
“I’ve always believed that bookstores are important. In a time of social media, of information bubbles, they matter more than ever. I can remember my father taking me, when I was a child, to the Bookworm, a used bookstore in Sacramento where I bought my first Louis L’Amour western. I remember shopping for books with my grandfather, and when I was old enough wanting to mimic the way he’d stick an address label in the copies he bought as a modern take on the classic practice of ex libris. I remember the philosophy section of the Borders in Riverside, California, when I was in college—the section that changed my life.”
Mt. Proust update, and Proust as meditation: I was asked more than twice this week which translation of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time I personally use, and the answer is Scott Moncrieff’s. Here is an article I found helpful, as it captures part of the reasoning that went into my choice:
“[I]f you want to read the Proust that Proust saw published, that influenced Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, that is all of one piece and interpreted by someone as close to Proust's sensibilities, education and experience as you can get, then you must read the Scott Moncrieff translation.”
I am also exploring Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway — do let me know if you’ve read it/intend to.
Perry Anderson’s The Breakaway article reflecting on the European Union. It’s long, and I’ll be transferring it over to the Kindle via a cool little feature called Push to Kindle, which converts website pages into distraction-free text compatible with deep thinking.
Being kinder to ourselves; of note, the question, “How much do I like myself?”
Short clip of Camus’ acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in literature, 1957: “the two duties which honor [the writer’s] profession: to serve truth and to serve freedom.” Chills. Here is the longer version (alongside a slightly different, but equally powerful, translation).
Oh goodness, Seamus Heaney reads his poem, ‘Digging:’
“Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down”
Until next week, lovelies!