still sporadically blogging for the time being

I keep thinking I should quit blogging. I’m not getting to it as much as I used to for one reason or another. However, I still see some value in continuing to sporadically update for the handful of people who check it.

Mark recently put up a video of himself reading from Auden’s Christmas Oratorio: “For the time being.” It reminded me of Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being.

A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel: Ozeki, Ruth: 9780143124870: Books

First, Mark read the ending of the long poem which is the third section of “The Flight into Egypt.” It ends with some lines that have been pressed into service as a hymn in the Episcopal Hymnal 1982. (Hymn 463, 464 according to my notes in Auden)

Mark is claiming a Creative Commons Attribution License for his reading of it. The software that comes with the hymnal (Ritesong) however does not have it as one that can be reproduced with permission. Not sure what all that means, just that I won’t put the hymns here.

Ozeki’s book is one that I have recently recommended as an audiobook to my daughter, Sarah. Also I gave the audiobook to my boss, Jen, for Xmas. It is a marvelous book. I seemed to remember reading an ebook version of it, but instead I found my hardback copy under “O” in my library. I have to invade my guests living quarters to access books like this.

Regarding writing an online blog, Ozeki has these marvelous comments, but :

Writing of her grandmother Jiko’s stories, the narrator says “Apart from me, who else would care? I mean, if I thought the world would want to know about old Jiko, I’d post her stories on a blog but actually I stopped doing that a while ago. It made me sad when I caught myself pretending that everybody out there in cyberspace cared about what I thought, when really nobody gives a shit.”

The character named Ruth in the book is reading this dairy aloud to her husband, Oliver. There is a footnote here where Oliver says “I never think anyone gives a hit… Is that sad? I don’t think so.” Ruth continues

“And when I multiplied that sad feeling by all the millions of people in their lonely little rooms, furiously writing and posting to their lonely little pages, that nobody has time to read because they’re all so busy writing and posting, it kind of broke my heart.”

Here there is another footnote (I love footnotes), “Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding” – Milan Kundera, Book of Laughter and Forgetting, 1989.

So welcome to my own “lonely little pages,” dear reader.

Another odd juxtaposition of ideas happened to me recently. I have been reading Alex Ross’s book, Wagnerismand listening to him talk about it online.

On Wagner with Alex Ross - 92Y, New York

I have had ambivalence about Wagner all my adult life. But, Ross’s book is mostly about Wagner’s influence on others. One of these people is Thomas Mann. Mann has been an enormously important influence on me and a source of many insights. I decided to pull down his “Death in Venice” and read it.

After several pages of reading Helen Lowe-Porter’s beautiful translation, I came on a sentence that left in German that the main character quoted. I asked the interwebs what the sentence was. It translated it and identified it as from Homer’s Oddysey. It did not say exactly which line it was, but apparently Mann will go on to quote more of Homer in this little story. Cool.

Bluestalking: Guardian 1000 Reads: Death in Venice by Thomas Mann [530]

Well, children, I am bringing another of my lonely little pages to an end. Although I have had a bit of weird sadness lately, my life continues to be uncommonly good. I can only pray for my country at this time. The prayers of an atheist. What good are they?

spoiled AND lucky


Here it is, January 3 and I haven’t blogged since way back in December. I’m afraid I am filling up my time with reading, practicing, and other stuff like cooking. The picture above is one Elizabeth drew of me. She was thinking of giving it to me when she informed me that she and Jeremy had bought me a the Trust Fall Quarterly Subscription from Book People Book Store (Texas’s largest independent book store).

The BookPeople Trust Fall | BookPeople

Over the next twelve months they will send me four books by new authors they recommend. Cool.

Jeremy and Alex made snow men a while back. The one on the left is Alex’s. I think it’s a snow woman.

Here’s a pic of them a bit later.

Christmas morning there was a huge package under the Christmas tree. I figured it was something for Alex. Nope. It was a reading desk that Jeremy picked out for me.

I quite like it. I can working on my Greek on it or just use it to read. This morning I plopped my huge copy of Don Quixote on it. It works great.

I was entirely spoiled this Christmas. I made a Wish List on Amazon and Eileen availed herself of it. I got tons of books. My brother and sister in law gave me two books I have had my eye on: Harold Bloom’s The Bright Book of Life

The Bright Book of Life,' by Harold Bloom book review - The Washington Post

and Kevin Young’s African American Poetry.

250 years of African American poetry - WHYY

Both men are heroes of mine.

I listened all the way through Bach’s Christmas Oratorio recently. It is wonderful music. Of course, I love the cantatas and it’s really six cantatas to be done from Christmas to Epiphany.

Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music: Ross, Alex: 9780374285937: Books

I received Alex Ross’s new book on Wagner from Eileen for Christmas. After having finished his previous book which I was reading (Listen to This), I plunged into it. I am trying to read more of a book than a few pages a day. I’m on page 84 of Ross (I just checked).

I finished several books I was reading previously and am now starting some of these Christmas books. I am also working on Dante and Don Quixote and others I have on the stack. All this reading is one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging. In fact I am itching to get back to my reading this afternoon.

I ordered the Dover edition of the score of the Christmas Oratorio and several vocal scores of some Wagner operas. Buying these used is very economic. I followed the Christmas Oratorio in a vocal score as I exercised. The score is in English unlike the recording I was listening to but I could still see how the music was working. I know it’s sort of cheating but I find it so much easier to learn about this kind of music in a vocal score. This is one that just has the voice parts and a reduced piano rendition of the orchestra parts.

I also ordered a box of used music from Craig Cramer.

I have been going back and forth between Bach and Buxtehude at work, reading and enjoying playing their music on the Pasi.

I am spoiled and lucky.

I have a new hero: Heather Cox Richardson. There was an article about her in the NYT. She writes a newsletter that is informed by her own background as an historian. She took the title from a book called “Letters from an American Farmer.”

Letters from an American Farmer and Sketches of Eighteenth-Century America by J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur

I am enjoying them. Here’s a link to her Substack page where you can read some of them and sign up for her email.