josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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7 Aug '12 08:35:04 AM

The notebook I bought is thin, with a fraction of my usual number of pages. I meant it to be deliberate. When I buy a new notebook, my first thought is of filling it, something that, if done, is rarely done to a specific purpose. (I made a special notebook to write my dissertation, though.) For this one, I meant to make an experiment: to keep a journal for something, and to see it through until I have a sense that I am done (with… something). When I have a specific purpose in mind for a journal, I am more likely to abandon it quite early once it stimulates me to think elsewhere, or once my mood alters.

The advent of new work has suddenly shifted my schedule, and now it's been several days since I wrote in my journal. Because it was prompted by the work I've been doing on philosophical journals, I chose, as the subject of the journal: the keeping of a journal. Specifically, me and my own (past) keeping of journals, since that's often something that has been more instrumental than the subject of reflection for me (if that could really be accurate for someone not unused to reflexive reflection).

This seems to have given a point, a focus, to the light sense of neglect, of being out of touch, that can come of being away from a journal that has been being kept. While working on anything I might have the feeling of distance from it if the work is allowed to slip away for some number of days, or if other thoughts intervene. Keeping a journal about keeping journals, I feel that I'm out of touch with both, the thoughts—the work—and with myself.

6 Aug '12 06:22:29 PM

'“The Corner” ended with De’Andre’s first adult arrest, and Simon recalled that McCullough was frustrated with that conclusion. “He said, ‘You write that like it’s the end. Maybe that’s not the end,’” Simon said.'

6 Aug '12 10:31:56 AM

If the virtue most in request by record buyers (or thieves) is not what they call 'consistency' in an artist's work, but what Emerson calls conformity, that says little about what the self-reliant artist's career would look like: there are so many things for aversion to oppose, to turn away from.

5 Aug '12 08:00:46 AM

'When I ask for a garment of a particular form, my tailoress tells me gravely, "They do not make them so now," not emphasizing the "They" at all, as if she quoted an authority as impersonal as the Fates, and I find it difficult to get made what I want, simply because she cannot believe that I mean what I say, that I am so rash. When I hear this oracular sentence, I am for a moment absorbed in thought, emphasizing to myself each word separately that I may come at the meaning of it, that I may find out by what degree of consanguinity They are related to me, and what authority they may have in an affair which affects me so nearly; and, finally, I am inclined to answer her with equal mystery, and without any more emphasis of the "they,"—"It is true, they did not make them so recently, but they do now."'

4 Aug '12 09:37:49 AM

Ways to work:

grow something, build something, create something, move something, cook something, clean something, prepare something, fix something, sort something, gather something, dig something up, cut something down, break something up, set something up, assemble something, count something, calculate something, watch something, watch someone, drive something, haul something, package something, study something, serve something, wait on someone, take care of someone, help someone

3 Aug '12 08:40:30 PM

It's always funny when a scholar writes, 'I do not have time here to...'. Is there a moderator holding a stopwatch? Why not say 'I do not have space here to...'. But who are you, Fermat? Get another piece of paper!

2 Aug '12 08:15:40 AM

Dual principles (Nov. 11, 1851):

'"Says I to myself" should be the motto of my journal.

It is fatal to the writer to be too much possessed by his thought. Things must lie a little remote to be described.'

2 Aug '12 03:27:55 AM

If you want to use the word 'ineluctably' you might want to look it up and make sure you aren't hankering after the wrong kind of impossibility just because it sounds so fancy and distinctive somehow.

2 Aug '12 02:52:39 AM

Everyone who scribbles marginalia is the richer for the fine expression, 'O RLY'.