Archive for November 2008
Trying another tack to getting myself into fighting shape, I’ve resolved to:
1) Actually read at least the International Herald Tribune, more or less cover to cover, every day. This used to be easy; no one had to ask me to do it. But the other day someone started talking about Mumbai and it was late enough that I should have known, but I had to bluff my way through the conversation. Jesus. Solipcism. Not like me….
2) Read a hundred pages of something each day. Adjustable for density of course. I’ve not been reading except for work, and sometimes not even then. No reading and the wells run dry.
3) Write daily. That is to say nightly. Or daily when I can.
4) Post daily. Something, anything. Blogging keeps me moving in some direction too. Not sure why, but when I don’t blog, it’s not a happy sign.
So, yes, it’s some sort of auto-poetic CBT soup for the faltering intellectual’s soul. Kneel (almost wrote knell) and belief will come? When I talk to this philosopher I know, I habitually get the Pascal bit wrong, even when I don’t even mention the name. Am getting it wrong now. It’s a wonderfully expressive parapraxis, I think, and so I will persist.
Tonight, wouldn’t you guess, I’ve started rereading Ulysses from cover to cover. I believe this is the first time since the first time, though I’m sure I’ve read it through several times over but in parts. (Should post some time on the effect of growing up with cable television, the movie channels, and watching movies that would come to have a formative influence on me over and over but never start to finish… Always picked them up where they were, sometimes left them off when it was time to do otherwise…. Never once seeing them all the way through. See, it’s working – there’s a post idea, the first in weeks!)
Strange to read it though now. The date I wrote on the inside cover of my Gabler edition is Fall 1996. When I read it first, I was younger than Stephen. Now I’m six years short of Bloom. Back then, I thought I’d write novels for a living. Now, I am considered a Joyce specialist though thankfully not a Joycean. Teaching literature is a strange way to make a living, full of hidden stresses and panics that are only sometimes material in nature. I take Stephen differently now, though perhaps not in the way that you or I would expect.
Having a therapist recommend to you (ok, to me) in the course of a session Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated is like going to hardware store for a box of nails and being handed instead a package of Lee Press-Ons.
I counter-recommended and then recounted the end of L’Education sentimentale and she shook her head sadly and scribbled something on her notepad, for I had just then confirmed what she had long since guessed. “It may be that these things that you work on are rather counterproductive when it comes to the process of coping with the…”
This story from the IHT is something like a bio-literal inversion of the situation at the academic conference I’m currently attending. Does that make sense?
A shortage of sperm donors in Britain has led to long waits at clinics and even caused some clinics to stop offering donor sperm, fertility specialists are reporting, and they are calling for nationwide changes to increase the supply.
Another solution might be to increase the number of pregnancies that each donor is permitted to produce. The legal limit is 10, set to minimize the chances of what is called inadvertent consanguinity — half siblings, unaware they had the same donor father, together having children, who would be at risk for genetic diseases caused by inbreeding.
But the BMJ editorial argues that the limit of 10 is arbitrary, with no scientific evidence to support it, and should be reconsidered. The Netherlands, with a smaller population than Britain, allows 25. In the United States, clinics make their own rules about how many children one donor may father, with some permitting 20 or more.
All very Totem and Taboo here, all very who-gets-to-have-dinner-with-dad-tonight. Not my supervisor, though, yes, lots of influence on me as well, though thankfully in a slightly more roundabout and idiosyncratic way than many of those with the blood link. But 2/3 of the kids of all ages here were conceived, as it were, in the disorienting hallways and hyperspace elevator alcoves of the Bonaventure Hotel, if you follow my drift.