View southwest from Holcomb Road, east of White Rock Road, 7 March.
News media start from a position of generalizing (three instances of something make a trend, and then a trend-story can be written, I once heard a reporter say). Particular instances — what one person’s going through — don’t matter. But my writings are always just my ideas, my/Matt’s/one person’s ideas, words, and texts. That’s their limited position, and that’s their power — the power of one person’s words is linked to the reputation of that one person. This is what’s implied by the advice to “consider the source.” (27 Feb.)
Woodman’s, Rockford, 4 March.
“Guys, he’s old, give him a break,” said a student in my creative writing class when I introduced essayist David Sedaris by saying he was famous as an author, which means he isn’t as famous as pop singer Candi B. My students corrected that to “Cardi B.,” and laughed at me, before my student defended me with the statement above. (28 Feb.)
View inside a corn-crib building at Heritage Farm, Byron Forest Preserve. 15 March
There seems an impulse in the society/culture to distinguish oneself. I’ve felt that way at times. But as a teacher, I’m a little like a monk, living that monkish life of service, of no advancement, but of fulfilled (whole) moments. Perhaps our moments seem full because we aren’t reaching to ambition, to some next thing. If I’m doing the monk-like work of just being here with students, then I don’t need to brag how much I’ve accomplished or how I distinguish myself from others. This need to reach for more and make myself stand out is perhaps a capitalist-culture value. (5 March)
The monk-model of my job goes along with what I’ve said in recent weeks about being more interested in the continuous than the unusual (and thus, avoiding news) and not needing to accomplish (not do, but be). Somehow humility mixes in here, too, because we teachers don’t do anything special, accomplishments-wise. We’re not, for example, making new knowledge, like college profs do. There’s no competition, no winning or losing — it’s Carse’s infinite game! (6 March)
Big ol’ stack a’ sugar. County Market, Byron, 18 Feb.
School buses look about the same now as they did when I was starting to ride them almost 40 years ago. Computers have changed, but other things haven’t. (7 March)
View west from the Stillman Bank drive-thru, Stillman Valley, Ill., 28 Feb.
“Where are the air-jellyfish?” my wife asked, going on to ask why there aren’t more animals just living by floating around in the air, as there are floating in the oceans. My guess is that water contains more dissolved resource-chemicals than air does, but I don’t really know. (7 March)
It’s nice that my dog doesn’t complain about my footsteps being louder than his when we’re in the woods. (9 March)
Why should an attitude of certainty seem to help an advocate win an argument? Is this a flaw in the arguments process? (14 March)
All the things I do to get ready for school — all the things I do that a dead man couldn’t. (14 March)
Church Road, approaching Holcomb Road, White Rock Township, 7 March.
It’s a sunny spring afternoon and my grandpa’s gone. The world’s still here, even though he’s not. (14 March)
Detail of east wall of house of barbed-wire inventor Joe Glidden, DeKalb, Ill., 15 March.
Perhaps there’s a fine line between being skeptical of others and being self-righteous. (16 March)
View of Joe Glidden house, east-wall and addition, 15 March.
Meditating may not take my mind to a truer view — but I’m briefly released from a partial (my usual and limited) view. (21 March)
The problem of audience — we can try to appeal to those who aren’t similar to us (though there’s a risk of stereotyping and pandering to people we don’t know well), but that attempt may be futile. (21 March)
A view into a cooler, Potbelly Sandwiches, DeKalb, Ill., 15 March.
“What is real” isn’t an idea — it might be the idea, the only idea — the idea that is at the center of any moment of consciousness. (23 March)
Ambiguity — going beyond simple statements — is poetic? (23 March)
When we learn something in the formal setting of school (or workplace, etc.), we expect to learn technical things (things that won’t necessarily be intuitive) and we know we’ll have to use this info in certain ways (memorize it for a test, use new equipment properly, etc.). We have that formal-learning context — as distinct from the personal, experiential learning we do informally and, perhaps, unintentionally in the rest of our lives. (25 March)
The view down a corrugation in the metal sheathing of a storage building. A gap between the corrugation and the trim below allows light in. 15 March.