Thursday, March 27, 2008


Spring broke

I'm still here, more or less. I'm reading Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy by Simon Blackburn (Oxford 1999) - I picked up a copy of this and one of his other books at another local used bookshop for cheap, because I liked the covers and they did indeed look "Compelling" and they are published by Oxford, whose books I usually cannot resist. Erudition! Scholarship! Classy dust jackets! The introduction begins most thrillingly (p.1):

"This book is for people who want to think about the big themes: knowledge, reason, truth, mind, freedom, destiny, identity, God, goodness, justice. These are not the hidden preserve of specialists. They are things that men and women wonder about naturally, for they structure the ways we think about the world and our place in it. They are also themes about which thinkers have had things to say. In this book I try to introduce ways of thinking about the big themes. I also introduce some of the things thinkers have had to say about them. If readers have absorbed this book, then they should be on better terms with the big themes. And they should be able to read many otherwise baffling major thinkers with pleasure and reasonable understanding."

Sounds great! Yes! Bring it on, right? Well. I found out quickly that there are no apparent conclusions drawn here about these big themes, rather information for drawing our own conclusions via Descartes, Hume, Locke, et al, and their detractors and supporters. Arguments about the big themes. That, and reading sentences that involve logic equations (scary! worrisome! flashbacks to calculus!) made me put the book aside yesterday and pick up an old copy of Heidi instead. Which I'm now almost finished with, and which I feel as if I've gleaned a lot of practically useable philosophy from. The book makes me want to visit giant fir trees and mountain wildflower meadows in Switzerland and gaze with awe upon alpenglow and think about God and the great mysteries of the world. And have a Whitmanesque grandfather who loves me. Finishing reading Heidi will not, however, stop me from attempting another of Simon Blackburn's books, Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics (Oxford 2001) - the book bought in tandem with the aforementioned - it's short and upon brief inspection looks to be equation-free. And I'm interested in being good. Though perhaps that was my problem with his book Think - I want to actually think, not learn about how to think.

My days off: I did plant flower and vegetable seeds in little biodegradable peat pots and most of them are showing green sprouts already; the snow is nearly gone around the house and the daffodils and crocuses and some tulips are also showing their first green shoots; I've almost finished reading Tim Mackintosh-Smith's book Yemen; I worked on a few new paintings; I didn't make much money, being closed and all, but I didn't spend any either; and I realized I need to take a longer break from both blogging and shop-keeping. So I'll be on hiatus for a while as I figure things out. I'll be back, I swear. Famous last words...?

You can't take a break from blogging. least give us a little update now and then.
Thanks for the vote of confidence - rest assured, I am just compulsive enough to continue, if sporadically.
Hi Sarah,

I've been missing out on your blog lately, so I just looked back at a few entries. It's fun to check in. And the cat drawings are very nicely done. It's nice to see some of the visual art thrown in. I've tried to sketch our cats, but they don't seem to be restful sleepers. I can't get more than a few minutes of decent posing.

Hope all is well.
Hey, Colin! Do you know that painting by John Sloan - "Green's Cats" - I've never seen it in person, just in reproduction, but I do love it anyway:

I've been painting more lately, after a dry spell. I see from your journal you're getting outside to paint, despite the cold spring we've had thus far. Your work looks terrific, as usual!
Hiatus: a dangerous word.
Books and blog readers need you

Antony Grevena, Greece
PLEASE COME BACK!!!! You are missed!!!!

Take your time, but stay well.

we miss you...
Thanks for the kind words, folks - I'm fine, I'm just rearranging my life a bit and it's taking time and energy. Update to follow, soon. Promise. Meanwhile, here's a newish blog with a few really great posts about books and book-buying housecalls and bookfairs:

Be back soon. Thanks again.
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