staying sane in a time of craziness


This is a very weird time, eh? I’m not watching the unfolding madness too closely. I’m referring to the lack of closure to the last presidential election. I was unhappy to see so many Americans going down the rabbit hole of Trump madness. This was my basic reaction, disappointment.

I ascribe this turn of events to a confluence of several things: demonization of those we disagree with, the wide strain of racism specifically white supremacy in the American ethos, inability to tell misinformation from facts (this is probably partly due to lazily checking stuff online without carefully noticing its source , and other things.

The way i am staying sane is immersing myself in things I love like learning ideas, music, and reading.

Even though I haven’t finished Maxine Greene’s Releasing the Imagination, I have begun outlining the book, recording my notes and observations. I resist purchasing a copy because I want to digest her ideas and then pursue. One of my pursuits has been to begin reading Bread and Wine by Ignazio Silone . This is a novel about Fascism in a small Italian village. It seems timely.

So practicing, studying, reading, thinking, this is the way I try to stay sane.



house of books


Recently, my granddaughter, Alex, was streaming to her kindergarten class sitting in my chair. The teacher remarked that there seemed to be a lot of books in the background. Apparently, Alex piped up that it was a house of books.

Makes an old man proud.

Going RV Way: Best Laid Plans – Back in Sacramento Area

Today we ended not using the piano trio as scheduled. The violinist had to quarantine at the last minute because she had been exposed. I text the cellist to stay home. I went in and played some cool Bach for All Saints instead. It was probably a bit more festive than what we had planned but not as elegant. We were ready with some movements fro m the Bach violin sonatas which i think are amazing. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Home | Maxine Greene Institute

Maxine Greene is my flavor of the week philosopher/writer. She sort of a counter balance to Harold Bloom (both are deceased). Where Bloom has a clear idea of what the canon should consist of in Western Literature, Greene has a clear and larger embrace of the riches of Western literature and ideas which would include Bloom’s but goes further.

Paul | | Teaching inspiration, Greene, Maxine

Wickipedia describes Greene as an “American educational philosopher, author, social activist and teacher.”Alex Ross footnoted her in an essay in his book, Listen to This.

I think she is amazing. I found a YouTube video of her lecture, “Blue Guitar: Arts and Aesthetics in Learning,” some of which I listened to this morning.

Do Art!: Picasso-Blue Guitar project | Monochromatic art, Picasso blue,  Elementary art

It’s not nearly as dull as it  might sound. She keeps sending me back to other books. In her, Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education,  the Arts, and Social Change, she pulls in all kinds of ideas from other writers and sends me scurrying into my house of books to look at them.

Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education, the Arts, and Social  Change: Greene, Maxine: 9780787952914: Books

People like Thomas Mann (Confessions of Felix Krull Confidence Man, the early years) and Ntozoke Shange (Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf). The ‘blue guitar’ image comes from a poem by Wallace Stevens.

The Man with the Blue Guitar & Other Poems by Wallace Stevens

Cool beans.

I’m also plugging away at a book Jeremy recommended: Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor by Virginia Eubanks.

Virginia Eubanks on 'Automating Inequality' through 'High-Tech Tools' -  Shepherd Express