There’s a thin layer of snow over everything this morning in the early Michigan darkness.
Thinking about my intellectual isolation a bit this morning. I was realizing that in the course of my daily life, I don’t run across another person who seems to have read much Proust or reads David Foster Wallace, Dickens, Getrude Stein. Or listens to a wide array of music or reads poetry. I’m trying to think of this without too much confusion and self-pity.
Last night I was enclosed in my warm car with a retired college professor. As I rambled on to him about my own experiences with college right now as a teacher, mentioning that it takes me a great deal of thought and preparation for each class and that it is taking away from my time for writing and recording music, I realized that he was avoiding talking to me about teaching college, something he spent most of his life doing. I keep hitting this blank wall of either a refusal to engage me at an intellectual level or a simple inability to recognize what the fuck I am talking about.
Of course, one does not choose to live in a small provincial American town and then wonder why it’s provincial, anti-intellectual and lonely. That’s silly. And I’m pretty sure that I have a genetic or inherited prediliction to keep myself an “outsider” in any situation I find myself. In many ways, I am comfortable with isolation and being misunderstood. As I said with a smile and in a consoling tone to my class on Tuesday as they sat mute after I asked them a question, “It’s okay. I can be scary even when I’m not the teacher.” I suspect that there are people who find me easiest to take in the antiseptic world of the blog. Hello lurkers! Heh.
In much of Proust he evokes images of classical paintings and relates them specifically to the people in his story. The enervated and introverted intellectual Swann (one of the main characters) is always privately comparing the faces he sees to ones he knows in Botticelli and Giotto and others. I keep thinking there has to be a web siteÂ or book with a collection of reproductions of these particularly evoked paintings with specific references to Proust’s story. I mean for goodness sake there’s a Proust cookbook (which, ahem, I do own) why not a Proust art book.
Last night after a particularly arduous choir rehearsal, Eileen went upstairs to “rot her mind” with TV. I took up my usual station in my reading chair and noted with self-irony that I was reading an essay called “E Unibus Plurum: Television and U.S. Ficiton” by David Foster Wallace from his collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. I don’t watch TV so much as read about it. Good grief.
Ahhh. I am savoring my first cup of coffee and preparing to prepare today’s lesson. Life is good if isolated.