A few weeks ago on our way to “summer camp” (i.e. ESY summer school), Jonah was lamenting the lack of “talkings” in the book he had just written.
I find his books in various places throughout the house. Most consist of four to five pieces of computer paper stapled into a spine, cover and title finished, always with the attribution: “By Jonah. Illustrations by Jonah”. Sometimes a few pages of story have been written out in his scrawling—but improving—phonetically masterful spelling. I’ve collected more than half a dozen “Christmas Carol”s; most all other stories involve some kind of battle (the most recent spelling of which was “bido”—no clue). My favorite (cover) to date is an Up rendering with smiley-face-stamped-stick-men riding a balloon-hitched house to the sky.
Anyway, “talkings” are those comic strip type balloons filled with words. Of course! Talkings!
And so, to honor the goal I shared with my personal health coach Cora (our insurance company somehow roped me into a thirty minute phone conversation that led to enrolling me in a new preventative mental health program—all because I’ve been prescribed Celexa and may exhibit some symptoms of depression), I thought I’d share some interesting snippets from my morning New York Times readings.
O yes. My goal. It’s pretty half-ass, since I was mostly just trying to get off the phone: “Set aside time for myself for restoration.” Something like that. I’m sure I used about twenty words trying to describe what I meant, because I know the word restoration did not, just then, come to mind.
LAST night I dreamed about mercury — huge, shining globules of quicksilver rising and falling. Mercury is element number 80, and my dream is a reminder that on Tuesday, I will be 80 myself. — Oliver Sack in Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.)
My birthday is next week, and I love weird connections like this. Last night, my reoccurring dream of skipping half a semester of math and history classes revisited me. In an effort to remedy the situation without receiving a failing grade, I visited the math professor, who didn’t say a word about the work I had missed but just invited me to become her lunch buddy.
By the way, I read somewhere that the people who are most intellectually creative in later life are experimentalists rather than conceptualists. Some people start with a clear conception of what they want to do and then execute their plan. They tend to be most intellectually creative young. Others don’t start with clear conceptions, they just go through trial and error. They peak late. — David Brooks and Gail Collins in How to Be Old
Very, very encouraging. And finally:
Nothing seems more American than this forced choice between cynicism and naïve belief. Or rather, as Herman Melville put it in his 1857 novel “The Confidence Man,” it seems the choice is between being a fool (having to believe what one says) or being a knave (saying things one does not believe). For Melville, who was writing on the cusp of modern capitalism, the search for authenticity is a white whale. — Simon Critchley in The Gospel According to ‘Me’
And with that, I’ll leave you with two examples of authenticity unfeigned, uncalculated and pretty damn near pure.