Upon leaving Ave Maria last week by car, I knew I would need something to read for the 30 hours+ car drive and my choice ended up being The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom. If the name sounds familiar to anyone from Ave, it's because we read The Republic in his translation at school. At the beginning of the semester I had a conversation with Dr. Dinan about beauty and music, and he brought up this book and told me to look into its chapter on music, that it was worth it. So, after ordering the book about halfway through the semester, I finally picked it up while leaving and I must say that I couldn't have made a better choice for reading after finishing school. I'm only halfway through and it's one of the best books I've read on the state of students in the US today. Allan Bloom takes his many years of experience and writes in a reflective style on what he's found and what has changed over the years.
I also am quite pleased to say that his words give me justification for my book fetish, which has increased (I can tell because I just stored away 3 boxes of books, with plenty un-read, and yet just ordered 3 more tonight online: 2 by Wendell Berry and 1 by Ron Hansen). Bloom writes, "The loss of the books has made them (students now) narrower and flatter. Narrower because they lack what is most necessary, a real basis for discontent with the present and awareness that there are alternatives to it. They are both more contented with what is and despairing of ever escaping from it. The longing for the beyond has been attenuated. The very models of admiration and contempt have vanished. Flatter, because without interpretation of things, without the poetry or the imagination's activity, their souls are like mirrors, not of nature, but of what is around. The refinement of the mind's eye that permits it to see the delicate distinctions among men, among their deeds and their motives, and constitutes real taste, is impossible without the assistance of literature in the grand style."...
So, for those who were closing Amazon, or walked out of Barnes and Noble empty handed, feel free! ;-).
I spent the day working and then showing my old* college friend, Jessica Wasko, around my farm! We grilled burgers and had bud light for the full northland experience. It was great, I wish all my friends from school could come visit and just be in the wide open spaces of the beautiful country here. Our conversation ran from tumblr to GracieLoo to robin's nests to the country. Somehow when I got back here I found my way to La Boheme...see the translation for Che Gelida Manina! I think this part is so moving--and this is how I feel: the life of a poet, poor in money--rich in dreams. Scraping for some kind of job...hmm.. but I'd rather be rich in "dreams and visions," squandering rhymes and love songs. ... Sounds like the life to me! :-)
"Chi son? Sono un poeta.
Che cosa faccio? Scrivo.
E come vivo? Vivo."
Who am I? I am a poet.
What do I do? I write.
How do I live? I live.