Yesterday was Elizabeth’s birthday. We celebrated. Part of her day was getting away from us all by herself to grocery shop. She was careful to dress properly.
This morning I got up and made cornbread. I have been eyeing a recipe to use with my cast iron skillet.
It has to cool for ten minutes. I substituted honey for sugar but other wise followed this recipe.
In my dream last night, someone asked me how old I was when I received my bachelor’s degree. I couldn’t figure it out in the dream. This morning I decided I was thirty-five.
I had two college dreams last night. In the first I was returning to school now to get a third degree. I think it was another masters degree and not in music. In the second I was simply starting a semester and trying to find my way around.
I listened to this podcast/YouTube still video this morning. I admire the way Arendt’s mind works. Her understandings are very helpful in the current madness of our world.
I read (re-read?) her preface to Antisemitism: Part One of The Origins of Totalitarianism this morning.
Here a couple of quotes that hit me.
Regarding the necessity of facing what is happening in the world with as much clarity as possible. Arendt (writing of understand antisemitism). says “Comprehension…. means the unpremeditated, attentive facing up to, and resisting of reality—whatever it may be or might have been.”
She is careful to sort through misconceptions and I find that helpful.
“Totalitarian politics … use and abuse their own ideological and political elements until the basis of factual reality from which the ideologies originally derived their strength and their propaganda value …. have (sic) all but disappeared.”
Remind you of anyone? Ahem. I found the ideas described in the podcast very helpful as well.
Today I finished reading a chapter in Finnegans Wake (Book I Chapter 5). Part of the way I read this book, is that I read in the corresponding section in Joseph Campbell’s commentary first.
Then I read a page in the Oxford edition whose numbers correspond to many of the reference books I use.
Then I go to my old Viking book club edition and make notations including indicating the Oxford pagination.
I then consult the McHugh’s Annotations to Finnegans Wake (Third edition).
I began this process a while back in the middle of the book and am now about done with one entire pass in this manner.
This sounds so much more serious than the way it feels since I find Joyce endlessly hilarious and rewarding. One of the insights I have had is realizing the true depth of meaning in words. To limit words to simple clear definitions is a bit reductive, since a glance at dictionaries and etymologies shows the resonance that already exists in them before Joyce starts to cut them up and patch them together for his own ends.
I’m also at the point in Ellmann’s bio of Joyce where Joyce has begun serious work on Finnegans Wake. This is a great biography.
I have been thinking that social distancing or even intellectual distancing is the way I live. I know no one who loves the stuff I love, like Joyce, Dante, and Shakespeare. I find Harold Bloom is practically a living, breathing teacher for me, if not a bit of a ghost companion.
Anyway for all you Joyce fans out there (sarcasm) here is a lovely, lovely interview with Sylvia Beach, the proprietor of Shakespeare and Company Bookshop in Paris which was a haunt of Joyce’s and also published Ulysses.
One of the commenters says that this was filmed the year she died. She is charming and this video is worth watching even if you don’t like Joyce.
The chapter I just finished in Finnegans Wake draws on Edward Sullivan’s 1920 publication of The Book of Kells. I ordered a cheapo reprint copy and it arrived just in time. I have been reading in it and seeing the relationship of Sullivan’s written commentary to Joyce’s prose about the “letter” in the trash heap which corresponds a bit to The Book of Kells. Fun stuff.
It’s been a weird week for me regarding my church job. We had another Zoom staff meeting Wednesday. Rev Jen tried to draw me out a bit regarding my understanding of web sites since we are working on a Covid-19 update of it. After this meeting I began to feel over whelmed by a sense of guilt since I’m receiving a paycheck from Grace and not doing very much to earn it. I was torn by noticing that no one on staff really has the understanding and experience I have making web sites and using WordPress. I reached out to some of the people on staff who are working on it but they did not respond.
Mary Miller gave me her log on and I did enough poking around to realize that I could be helpful. I don’t really want to be the web master.
Jen and I had a meeting scheduled for Thursday with a staff meeting to follow (all on Zoom of course). I spent the morning boning up on the liturgical theology of Holy Week. In this meeting, Jen clarified for me that I would only be responsible for helping provide content for resources for our parish online and that others would be responsible for actually putting it in the web site. This was a relief.