Category Archives: Uncategorized

I could use to nap

I could use to nap. I could also use to think less, do more, be less self-monitoring. But, then, I know that this, too, is a summer phenomenon. It can come and go, it’s OK, you’re OK. (S*it, now I’m between rules on the page; this line is narrow.)

Also — books: many of my books, I regard not merely as hunks of paper, of words on paper, but I tend to think of the associations of the books with their authors, their times. Brautigan and the hippie era, mystique, is part of my interest in his writing. Yet, that’s doomed to fail, of course, trying to return to an era — well, to my limited, narrow, arbitrary view of that era. Watching Little Big Man‘s scene at the drugstore, I thought how it maybe wasn’t all that different to be alive, to be conscious, to be a person and have a life, then in 1870s (approximately) as now.

Eh, don’t bother looking for answers. You’re basically just tired today. Bed about 11, but then M came in later. I had oatmeal for dinner last night — that doesn’t matter. Fu*k, it’s been another half-hour of writing. I’m gonna nap.

I got water and thought of yesterday’s thought: our well water runs cold after a couple minutes. But with city water from water tower, will it be warm in the summer? Or not? But we’ll also have cold water at the fridge supply. What I don’t yet know about town living.

[From journal of Sun., 5 June 2011, Journal 141, page 185-6]

Listening rather than talking: Notes from Feb. 2004

§ Listening to conversations, looking for assumptions, possibilities — You can’t advocate all is relative (because that’s not a relative-truth statement) but you can keep an open mind to multiple possible interpretations. Further: it’s not even that you have to be actively looking for things, observations, or even personal directions.

I’m learning you don’t have to be active, only open, receptive to the suggestions that appear in your mind — they’re a little bit subtle, not always obvious, so it helps to be open to them, listening rather than talking. [19 Feb. 2004]

§ Noticing T’s hands: If I had just noticed him and mentally said, “there’s T__,” I wouldn’t have looked closely enough to observe something new and unexpected about him. Saying “there’s T__” is, M said, a kind of prejudging, and to observe freely is an act of nonjudgment. [19 Feb. 2004]

§ A few days ago, when snow just beginning to melt, walking Gracie at night, melted spots looked like hieroglyphs painted on the snow, and walking around the edge of [my neighboring uncle]’s white pines, it didn’t seem there were trees there — there was the snow on left and a complete dark void on right. Walking Gracie this Monday morning, in dark, we tried to stick to high ground — water everywhere, but puddles and streams in low ground. [23 Feb. 2004]

§ Are students fundamentally passive, liking to be shown things, to be told a story (whether students are sitting down or involved in the demo)? Or is student passivity not fundamental but merely contextual or cultural — maybe in this culture, students are passive. The nature of schooling is external — being judged. [24 Feb. 2004]

§ “Controversial views are professionally sexy,” writes Jane Tompkins [here, I think, about college professors, I think]. I’m not sure what is professionally sexy about teaching high school — being a winning coach? [24 Feb. 2004]

§ Not only is there no privacy at school, there’s almost no time in the day to think by yourself. The way high school is set up, it’s relentlessly public and also relentlessly “productive,” or intentional. There’s no downtime for kids or teachers. You’re supposed to be busy all period, all day long, and only 25 minutes for lunch, so that too is a hurry. “Idle hands are the devil’s playground” or whatever the old-fashioned saying is. [26 Feb. 2004]

§ At first, it feels like a relief to be near the completion of the yearbook. But then I think, maybe it will even out my emotions, and my stress if I don’t make a big deal out of this. If getting done isn’t a big deal, then not having it done (earlier in year) won’t be big deals either. [27 Feb. 2004]

§ [One student’s name or another student’s name] or both said [colleague] C.S. said something in her class about me talking too much in our [teacher-education] class, something about when Hagemann starts talking, everyone sits back, puts down their pencil — apparently they’re settling in for my “dissertation.” I’m not saying that’s impossible for me, but I don’t recall doing that during those classes. Only a few times did I speak, and only once did I go on for more than a socially acceptable length, or so I thought. Although it is an interesting question — Mom and others accuse [a certain someone] of not reading signals and going on too long. [My grandpa] says I talk lots, but that’s because I enjoy conversing, not because I trap people who want to leave (I think, anyway). I’m not so blind to signals. “Mind Wide Open” guy on NPR last night said some people (autistic, but not only those) can’t read those people signals, but they can learn to do that. Listening to my comment, maybe this is what C.S. means: I don’t always just spit out my point. But I feel my points are a bit nuanced, require support, not just opinion. And anyway, why worry about what C.S. thinks of me? I didn’t think much of her comments, either, and I didn’t talk about her in my classes.  [27 Feb. 2004]

§ How it makes me nervous to have kids [students] with idle time — as if I’m just taking on the teacher personality attributes. [27 Feb. 2004]

§ Maybe it’s not that I say too much; maybe I’m just too intense? Just too much for some people — lots of these other teachers aren’t as interested in deep conversations as I am, M is, D is, C.L. was, etc. [29 Feb. 2004]

[Entries above from Pocket Page notebook #93, 18 Feb.-29 Feb. 2004]

Movies are specific things — conversations are so much more open than that

What else was I saying? Oh, that movies are specific things — unique, one-off entities — conversations are so much more open than that.

Telling M about finding the Gracie papers yesterday, I said if she had [word unclear], we wouldn’t have gotten the “little fool” Sam (I’m conscious of being a bit mean to him — then I recalled that he can’t read). And I don’t mean to be harsh on the boy. It’s just he’s more of a goof than Gracie was. I love the goof — Gracie was more devious.

See, and I’m off ideas and talking dog personalities — and that’s fine, fun. Conversations can veer from fun to serious and whatever. And blerg — this is the beauty of the journals — they can be anything, you know!

And that’s what I’m getting at. I’m not making some story that I’m claiming has some profound (mythic) power (of redemption, some idea of growth, or something). {And smart people like reading new ideas (like Eagleman’s book, like Borges) — for smart people, ideas are fun (to a point —  as [my uncle G.] said once when he was with me, we have plenty of ideas )} And I’m not claiming my ideas have theoretical power/value (ideas vs. conversations), and I’m not making some pre-planned work of art (movie or novel or whatever — anything intended, planned).

It’s just, it’s — I sorta don’t even want to call it a public text — rather than call attention to it publicly, I’d almost rather somebody find it accidentally. Say, hide my tests in a bookstore or library shelf or at a doctor’s office — something to disrupt expectations, well, but not overtly — subtly. I mean, if I give a reading, I’m calling attention to my text. Actually, I’m defining it as a public text, I’m claiming it’s a complete work — and there are theories and expectations people have for complete works that they may not have for found documents — texts whose contexts are unclear. (And I don’t mean this in a cleverness way — I wouldn’t try to be super-sneaky like Banksy, that whole cheesily simple mystery of his real identity.)

But I’m saying that such a practice, such a way of presenting my writing — such a format would allow me to not put an ending boundary on it. No sense of “this is done.” It might be more like a conversation, and I’d have a sense of not knowing if and where and when and by whom it was ever found and read. And yet, the fact that I’ve already had this idea means it’s sorta done already for me (I mean, I could do it, but it’s not a final answer. There is no final answer in art!) — onto new ideas!

I mean, I don’t really have any particular thing to say to anybody — no arguments to try to convince others, no story to tell — will people take this in the way I’d like them to? (Maybe that’s the challenge of all art for others?)

[From journal of Weds., 1 June 2011, Journal 141, page 126-8  ]

I’d like to show the fun of the creative mindset

Yeah — my book. I looked at Best American Essays 1999 in my classroom, in a box near the printer, last evening and thought that I don’t really want to be published in a book like that. I don’t want to be praised for a performance — a one-off essay feels like a performance. I prefer book-length format for myself, for my work, I think, to let my voice come across, my sensibility. I don’t really want to convince people of any idea. If anything, I’d like to show the fun of the creative mindset. But, I don’t know. I could be fun, but not relentlessly so. Whatever man — don’t fret this.

[From journal of Thurs., 17 Nov. 2016, Journal 239, pages 233]

I’m an idiot sometimes. Too much of the time, anyway

… She assured me she and all her people are real “achievement-oriented” people. Sure glad I’m not.

And that depressed me. I don’t want to talk newspapers all the damn weekend. I’m not a hyper journalist. Not that I don’t want to talk newspapers, I do, but not that seriously. Hell, even the coach said she wanted to stop talking shop and just go drink. That made me laugh in sympathy.

And that’s not even all. P__ came back today. She’d been to the office Monday, I guess, but I missed her. I don’t know — she got back from Guatemala. I haven’t seen her since we danced (fast style, you know — well, she and Ryan danced and I made an idiot of myself with athletic and clumsy gyrations). She came in and came to me sitting at the computer, and I wasn’t enthralled to see her. I just wasn’t, somehow. She was pretty and smiling and all, but she was just in to say hi, not to really talk, and she had short-haired Boy-O in tow, standing near the door looking bored while she talked to us (Boy-O could’ve been a brother, I don’t know). I wanted to tell her how it has sucked this summer …

But I know P____ doesn’t like me. We could never be a couple, because 1) she doesn’t love me, and 2) even if she did, the religion thing wouldn’t work out.

But I guess the biggest thing, and maybe the burr under my saddle that is the basis for the whole funk, is that I’m an idiot sometimes. Too much of the time, anyway. I just say dumb f***ing things — like to R__ about B____ Street being the crime center, and it was in his … police report and how crime is always on that street and I laughed and he just f***ing walked away, treating me like the biggest f***ing idiot, the social outcast who doesn’t know when to shut up, and suddenly my laugh sounded hollow and fake.

But it obviously isn’t just R__. I’ve been very judgmental lately, of others and myself. With others: I had all these opinions against [people from a certain college], and somehow felt I needed to share my judgments with others — which is the process of taking others into confidence, creating an “us” and opposing to us this “other.” This of course assumes the person I tell my thoughts to will think and judge as I do, will see the other as the odd one, not me — and will not see me as petty and negative. It isn’t the case that this is always true.

[From journal of Thurs., 27 July 1995, Journal 10, page 159-162]

All their peculiar, particular intimacies: May 2021 notes

20210507_165150

Tree blossoms. Ogle Co., Ill. 7 May 2021.

⇒ I don’t seem to recall learning those skills I use the most often — tying shoes, etc. But also Google Classroom — I’m comfy with it now. A little surprised, I felt this morning, to think I used it a year ago, before I knew it as well as I do now. [4 May 2021]

⇒ “He solved Legos!” A puzzle can be solved — there’s one way the pieces fit together — but not Legos (that’s an infinite game?). No one right answer! [5 May 2021]

⇒ There’s no meaning in the setting, but there are examples (calm animals or calm (or tense) people) and attributes (sunny or foreboding) and associations (memories and ideas associated with certain settings). [5 May]

⇒ “Setting” — I have to travel through every inch of distance from house to my classroom. I’m always in a place. [6 May]

⇒ Listening to Steely Dan’s “Black Cow” and feeling a sense of ease from the lush arrangement. And that’s the feeling that professional-polish is supposed to give: a sense that experts are in charge, I can be passive and taken care of. Amateur art offers (or requires?) listener dis-ease. [6 May]

20210507_165126

Baby catalpa tree leaf. Ogle Co., Illinois. 7 May 2021.

⇒ Illusion of independent living: We seldom live (at least, stereotypically) in multi-generational houses, but then parents get old and our filial ties mean we’re — not obligated to care for them, but if you like them, you take them in and care for them. And you realize that independence — your parents’, yours — doesn’t last forever. Maybe I was never all that independent at all, just an accident away from taking care or needing to be taken care of. [18 May]

⇒ Vague idea about how bad (childish, beginner’s) writing is too generalized, form-filling — not specific and detailed and weird enough. [20 May 2021]

⇒ We exist to perceive a tree with a certain shape in the wind? And then to look again and see that tree’s in an other shape. [20 May]

⇒ Playing Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good,” I thought of a fall evening, crisp breeze, at my mom’s family’s farm, feeling happy. And it’s cool a song can do that and I can experience the remembering and let it go and not try to hold onto (live forever in) that moment. [21 May]

⇒ Parents invite their children to live with them, see all their peculiar, particular intimacies. [21 May]

Sculptures of my consciousness: April 2021 notes

20210401_165441

Prism in a spoon. 1 April 2021

¶ The present is a date that doesn’t already have a description associated with it, as historical moments do. [5 April 2021]

¶ Ideas for an intro to my journal bits on this blog: I’m tired of narrative, how it skips time, makes only some moments seem valuable, how it’s abstract and knowable only after the fact. Narrative can’t be lived. It has a place, a value, but I’m looking beyond it. How I live — text precedes topic. [9 April]

¶ Philosophy for sick people — what would that look like? Philosophy is kinda useless if it’s only for the well. Sure, philosophy can help us live while healthy, but also, why can’t it do more when we’re sick? My writings are valuable only to the living, the healthy —  the dead can’t do much with them. It’s funny how physical things like books can seem real — but the curtain’s up only a brief time. [14 April]

20210415_161843

Farm field. Holcomb Road, west of Stillman road, I think. Ogle Co., Illinois. 15 April 2021

¶ Reading is internal — nothing is created. I can’t tell how well students read a text without having them do something else to show they’d read it. Reading itself leaves no external marks — duh — but it shows learning is internal. [14 April]

¶ I’d rather be open-minded than keep thinking dull, old (inadequate) things. … I want to embrace not-knowing, not telling myself that I know what to do. Sure, I mean, it’s been good to remind myself to help M [as she cares for her parents], not oppose her or critique what she’s doing, etc. But I don’t need to fall back on inadequate generalizations either. The thrill and giddiness of having a new (to me) philosophical insight or idea. [15 April]

¶ My brain is biased toward big events, odd events, experiences associated with strong emotions, as I learned in Brain-Based Learning class. My brain seeks to glean and learn — update the sensibility, ability to respond. But the brain doesn’t track what my daily experience was, what contexts were — the journals are needed for that. [16 April]

¶ I had thought recently about the sense of possibility that made high school and college exciting for me (for anyone?). For most adults in our 40s, say, things settle into patterns — I like my life, I like knowing my niche — but it’s unknowing that makes earlier years feel different? [19 April]

¶ A literary sentence is one where you ask, how could this statement be true or meaningful? [20 April]

¶ Literary sentences as sculptures — useless but attention-drawing. … If I look at both Exquisite Corpse lines and journal bits as artworks — as sculptures — not trying to make a point, a claim about reality, but just existing to be considered, like a sculpture exists. Exquisite Corpse lines as philosophical possibilities — my journal bits as records of my consciousness — sculptures of my consciousness.  [21 April]

20210420_180006

Pasta salad made for us. 20 April 2021

¶ Lately I’m seeing images (trees along tracks this morn) as too brief to be real. I saw yesterday an image of a few snowflakes falling — slowly, and they seemed each so distinct. It almost seemed surreal: snow flakes against white tree flowers in background (as I looked south out school windows). And the trees, along east side of railroad tracks north of Bethel Road, they looked almost like columns of a cathedral with sun coming through. And yet, these images — I didn’t feel like photographing them — I guess I’m thinking of images as mental (consciousness) phenomena — it’s a perspective-view. Images are human creations, not nature’s creations. Nature’s physical and biological processes create the snow, the sun, the trees, but it’s the consciousnesses that do the looking — from a particular spot (some spots have more captivating images than others) at particular time. And these images don’t — can’t  — last because consciousnesses change! And these images I’m talking about also include human-created images: ad-images of idealized people and idyllic settings, and even art’s images (paintings, photos) try to stay around but these are obviously not real, not live-in-able. I might want to live in an idyllic setting I see, but I know I can’t — living there would destroy the simplistic image! [21 April]

20210429_170024

Bright oak leaves, dark maple leaves. Ogle Co., Illinois. 29 April 2021

¶ Multiple readings: why should we have the convention of reading a text only once? … Re-reading as one of many alternative ways to encounter a text. [21 April]

¶ 30 years (it’s nearly 30 years — OK, 29 — since I graduated high school) is like a year, or even like a day, only longer (a jokey way to explain duration). [22 April]

20210429_165848

Young maple leaves and flowers, I guess? Ogle Co., Illinois. 29 April 2021.

¶ Enjoying a poem — it’s funny that it should be hard. I, basically, could just explain to my students what my finding-joy-in-poems mind finds. [26 April]

¶ All artists putter and do ablutions and none of that is why readers (or other art audience members) care about artists. Readers can’t know me socially when I write — I’m necessarily by myself, alone, in my own thoughts. [29 April]

¶ Walking dog tonight, I thought about getting back home. Then I stopped thinking that, and thought that I was OK, that I could slow down and just look at stuff. And I wonder if it’s easier to be calm now as an older person, now that I feel I have accomplished something with/in my life. [30 April]

20210430_070105

Bleeding hearts projected onto vinyl siding. Ogle Co., Illinois. 30 April 2021

What is there to learn? March notes

20210308_073208

Pock-marked ditch snow. Headed east on Holcomb Road, just east of White Rock road, Ogle Co., Illinois. 8 March 2021.

∴ Can melting snow look good? It’s pocked, dirty, with tar chunks in it in my neighborhood. It’s not the smooth and sculptural texture I like. And yet, there’s a challenge to me to find beauty or at least cool images in melting subsiding snow. (10 p.m. As I took old-snow pics this evening, I realized I had done similar pictures before.) [29 Feb. 2021]

∴ The clock keeps moving, across the calendar days, the calendar chart of daily highs I copied into journal from photo of TV screen this morn. It’s weird to think I lived each day, yet each day went like today does, the hours seeming to pass quickly. [1 March 2021]

∴ Dreams can be random and surreal but it’s interesting how often they are narrative, at least within a scene. I kinda understood the logic of what was going on in dream scene I described in journal this morning. [1 March]

20210302_153534

COVID-era advice on high school flooring. 2 March 2021.

∴ A student in creative writing wrote something that reminded me of The Matrix‘s “brains in vats” example, a familiar example in philosophy. I can use these familiar examples as tools to classify ideas — and hope to find unclassifiable ones! [3 March]

∴ A colleague called me an “autodidact.” Maybe a higher-level autodidact question is: What is there to learn? What can be learned — what can be considered? Autodidacticism leads to epistemology? Maybe, but my point might be that my auto-learning might have led me to my questioning mind and my philosophical orientation/inclination. [5 March]

∴ I see my house and street and neighborhood differently on weekdays from on weekends — the symbolic meaning depends on my mood or mode (whether I have to go to work or not). [5 March]

∴ Nomadic lifestyle vs. settled/agriculture lifestyle: Settlers tell (sorta) the land want to do. Nomads respond to what the land does. They go where the drought isn’t (maybe). But farmers control what the land grows — and some of the land is declared dumping grounds, etc. [8 March]

∴ A student notes that the R. Carver story “Popular Mechanics” uses only pronouns, no names. This reminds me of what I wrote in school journal this morning: that there’s a label on today (the date), but not using a label might help me attend to today as the only day — lack of labels makes the description feel closer (more real?) [8 March]

∴ It’s banal to write, but a huge factor as one lives is societal pressure — and job pressure. (It’s easy to forget about this when thinking of historical figures’ lives.) [10 March]

20210313_154932

A pandemic year’s worth of journals. 13 March 2021.

∴ I made my way through college — “got my paper and I was free” — and I found my passion, my calling, in and through writing. I didn’t know what project I would want to do, but I found it thru the process! I didn’t go to some top school or follow some particular curriculum all that closely — I didn’t need to. It’s almost magical — the benefits of trusting my process! [10 March]

∴ I don’t expect there will be any life’s milestone when I will feel great relief. I mean, retirement, maybe, but it’s OK that I don’t feel that relief or accomplishment. Living each day is the point. [12 March]

∴ Why should people — individuals, non-business types — have to advocate for actions to counter climate change? It’s the companies selling things, externalizing pollution, that caused this. It should be their push to clean up. Or, at least, some other biz interests (like insurers?) should shame the carbon-sellers. [17 March]

∴ Writing from within various moods — a strength, not a weakness. I suspect there is this feeling that, this sense that,  narrators of news articles, op-eds, even poetry and fiction — most published forms — want to be seen as voices of authority, rather than voices of particularity, peculiarity, and/or vulnerability. [17-18 March]

20210331_081845

Birds at March’s end. 31 March 2021.

∴ March: It takes a whole month to go from snow-ground to grass-ground. [30 March]

∴ 3:20 p.m. With 5 minutes before I can leave school for the day, I want to sit here, logged off (instead of looking at an online list of best records by women, as I did yesterday before leaving) and just talk about how I’m tired of sitting for most of the time between 7:45 and 3-something. I did some grading today — also got sick of doing it. And that’s OK, frankly. It’s OK. It’s just a work day. I’m headed out soon. It’s 3:24. [31 March]

How I am conscious: My experiences seem to require processing thru writing

I tried to answer D’s question about metaphysics — what’s beyond our particular lives and consciousnesses — and I don’t often think in that way. My experience interests me too much, I guess. “Experience” is too vague a word. What is it I’m getting at when I write my journals, especially when I get engaged in a specific idea or today? These are ideas that came to me last night, at the party or after, and I guess I like that about myself. It’s how I am, you know? I didn’t try to get drunk or try to force it. How I am conscious involves observing, thinking — maybe others just party and let it go, maybe others tell stories — I draw conclusions, note spontaneous thoughts.

Particulars:

♦ Girl in orange top and jeans doing her wiggle dance as we four sat in chairs in front of the back door to Leombruni’s. …

♦ Seeing — avoiding — [former] students

♦ Some older rough biker types — not real rough, but authentic, not suburban doctors on a weekend bike ride

♦ All these people who work just to put on a party (well, and make money, and promote the city)

Apparently these thoughts just come to me. I have this experience of looking at people …, and I at some point abstract this — these — moments of experiences (these momentary experiences) into larger abstractions. But I have this drive to understand, too — my experiences seem to require processing thru writing. Well, maybe I’d do less of this if I wasn’t in the practice of getting up and writing — and yet, I had plenty to write about today, ideas from last night, and some new ideas that came as I wrote.

[From journal of Saturday, 12 July 2008, Journal 104, page 93]

Wisdom comes irregularly: Notes from February 2021

2021_02_13_mh (160)

Snow shape. 13 Feb. 2021

‡ Learning from others’ examples, being around them — they teach unconsciously and I learn unconsciously? [2 Feb. 2021]

‡ Politicians, journalists, marketers use simple, conventional language in order to communicate as widely as possible for a purpose. Complex language in poetry is play? [2 Feb. 2021]

‡ Nobody gets paid to learn (unless you then are expected to turn around and do it). Learning must be entertainment! [3 Feb. 2021]

20210223_112943

Tree shadow. 23 Feb. 2021

‡ A poem is a mechanism for conveying thoughts a reader has never had before. It’s a text that rewards slow-reading! And most messages aren’t new, but images are — images without themes or messages attached (like my “Split my Thumb” poem) Of course, there’s the danger of narrowly defining poetry. [4 Feb.]

‡ I expect to see certain things published to Internet on certain days — regular features. I expect to be entertained, but I don’t otherwise expect too much. I don’t expect wisdom from these repeaters. Wisdom comes irregularly. [10 Feb.]

‡ It’s easy enough to talk about tragedies happening to people who are merely ideas to you. And it’s easy to imagine places, to talk about vast, distant places, using names (and how easy it is to overlook the places between). [10 Feb.]

‡ The radio annoys. I mean, sure, sometimes I like it or I wouldn’t have it on at all. But sometimes it’s so repetitive — it reminds me that it’s only a small realm of sounds and abstractions, portable enough to dominate any space. I’d rather see and be in a particular place, without common sounds. [11 Feb.]

‡ Remind (sorta) myself at the sink today at 6:30 a.m.: I’m the one who’s deadline-pressed. I usually do think of clocktimes on school mornings. And this clock-awareness is why I can’t get outside myself to relax in mornings. [11 Feb.]

20210218_165620

Village Commons Bookstore in Dekalb, Illinois, closed this spring after 51 years in business near Northern Illinois University, according to the store’s Facebook page. Shown here 18 Feb. 2021.

‡ How weird the world — well, more or less anyplace I might sit and look — might seem if I didn’t remember (if I let go of thoughts of) how the world works, how particular things work: the explanations I keep and remind myself why things look the way they do and work the way they do (the necessities of paying rent, for example). … If I sat and looked (staying away from media) long enough, the world might seem newly, wonderfully weird. [15 Feb. 2021]

‡ This is in part a reaction to my thought last night that I don’t need to be making things — that it’s OK to sit and stare. But the capitalist ethos is about making things to sell. It implies that a person doesn’t matter until you’ve produced something (so this undervalues disabled people, sick people). And we often even talk about films and shows and books to watch and read as if we need to be doing that (consumption as a form of productivity). But, of course, I’m still conscious, and my consciousness doesn’t always need to be focused on some productive task! Maybe now that I’ve got 340-plus journals and decades of pocket pages written, maybe I am less interested in being productive. I’m more ready, as an older man, to be less productive — to discount the value of more things accomplished. And I don’t need to dwell on things I’ve already created. [17 Feb.]

‡ The value of my writings to others: Can my mental activity help others with their mental activity (their understanding of things)? [17 Feb.]

20210204_124522

Brick Road, west of Payne’s Point, Ogle Co., Illinois. 4 Feb. 2021

‡ Photos of snow don’t quite satisfy as an experience because snow is cold. It’s felt. Images of snow seen without feeling cold kinda don’t work, aren’t accurate. [18 Feb.]

‡ Capitalism is social — what can you make or do for others, to get their money (produce!)? It doesn’t seem to care what an individual wants to do — in capitalism, things matter only if they matter to other people (see my previous comment about how being productive, rather than just being comfortable or observing or just being, is a capitalist value.) [18 Feb.]

20210218_172636

Headed west, Lindenwood Road, rural Ogle Co., Illinois. 18 Feb. 2021

‡ I don’t want my written legacy to be a few generalizations but a few particulars. I could boil down some “life lessons” to pass on to future generations — but, no, I want my legacy to be texts written on particular day, at particular place, because focusing on life not as generalities but as particulars has been one of my best learnings. I thought this after thinking about [a former student’s] essay for grad school — she wants it to work, to get her admitted, so she doesn’t mind getting advice — she probably doesn’t mind incorporating others’ suggestions. Whereas in my own writings, I’d likely keep my own errors and quirks. I wouldn’t much want others’ help, especially not their particular word choices (general feedback would be OK if I sought to publish. And then I thought: what I would leave to the world [above]). [24 Feb. 2021]