Eileen and I met with a Financial Advisor from Edward Jones Investments yesterday. I didn’t really understand we were meeting with an investment advisor. Eileen had a recommendation from a friend for this particular investor. We chatted for over an hour and left telling her that we would upload a bunch of information about our investments such as they are and go from there.
I’m afraid that the investor lost interest in us when she learned the totality of our assets. Also I thought that she didn’t quite get us as people. This morning we decided to not use an investment advisor but simply go through our bank which is what I did when I was attempting to manage my parents assets.
I wasn’t paying close attention before we went. I didn’t realize we were going to Edward Jones. I thought we were going to get actual money management advise (not investment advice). Eileen is feeling at a loss on how to handle our savings and investments, so I agreed to get a little more hands on with it. I am sure that Eileen’s much more competent than she thinks. But I certainly don’t mind doing my part on this stuff.
I continue to find Western Michigan a bit provincial in most aspects. Thank goodness for the Interwebs.
I finished The Topeka School by Ben Lerner. I enjoyed it but don’t think it was that spectacularly good. After listening to Lerner talk about in on an old Politics and Prose video, I now understand what he was trying for more clearly. I found myself more interested in the secondary characters than the main ones. The whole notion of a psychiatric and institute and hospital intrigued me. Lerner apparently has written about some of these characters before in his other two novels. But they were the youngest people in the book and the least interesting to me.
There were some fascinating concepts in the book. I was noting the times that the idea of glossolalia or speaking in tongues came up. This was a pretty elegant strain of connecting times people lapse into nonsensical sounds instead of words. None of it was religious.
It sort of seemed to me like there were two novels in this book. One about all the interesting ideas and people, the other a story about some young people who get older, married, and have kids.
Lerner said that one of the themes he had in mind was there are no grown-ups. I didn’t get that from the book but I like the idea a lot. What I think he meant was that we all try to make our lives the best we can and no one is that good at it.
Having said that, I have been pondering the lack of sophistication in Western Michigan. The advisor yesterday was just one instance. I don’t want to complain too much since I am very content to live here. But it helps me sometimes to realize how limited the situation is. I told Eileen today that if there was no Internet I would probably want to move somewhere else. She said we could move anyway. But I don’t have that urge.
When Eileen told the advisor yesterday that I was a retired choirmaster/organist (her words), the response was to ask me if that meant I led the praise band at my church. Later when I tried to tell the advisor that I wouldn’t bump into one of her colleagues at church because I wasn’t doing church any more I felt like I was speaking another language.
My language and interests seem to me to be more content based and less appearance based than many people in this area. Since I look like a broken down old hippie and we don’t have a zillion dollars people sell us short. Or assume that we are not successful in our lives. Or something. I’m not sure what.
But I have to keep reminding myself that the world I live in is very different from the world of Holland Michigan.
I continually find that most academic points of view do not interest me. I wonder if that is some of what’s happening between me and Lerner’s work. He is not pretentious, but he is a prof, a published poet and novelist, as well as living in New York City. I am reading his book of poetry Mean Free Path. I was surprised to learn that he thinks of himself as a poet before a novelist. That’s what he teaches I think, poetry. I’m enjoying his poetry but it’s clever like the novel was. Clever is good, but then I started Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness.
I think she writes rings around Lerner. I have been looking forward to reading her book since it came out.
But I’m not done with Lerner. I just don’t quite understand how The Topeka School was a finalist for the Pulitzer.
I am feeling one hundred per cent better and more functional. I am gradually adding more sit-ups and other exercises to my daily routine. Yesterday I spent some time with Bartok’s piano music as well as Chopin. I have been reading C.P.E. Bach’s biography and letters. Today Eileen and I went to the beach for our date day. My life is good and I am a lucky duck.
Lewis Raven Wallace mentions this 13th century poem in his The View from Somewhere. I had never heard of it. The main character’s name is Silence. Silence is a cool name for a character. Silence is a woman who was raised as a man in order for her to inherit property and title. A couple of the characters are named Nature and Nurture and they have an ongoing discussion (argument?) about whether Silence should remain a woman (Nature) or live as a man (Nurture). I haven’t look that closely at this long poem and am repeating the impression Wallace gave me of it. I think it’s cool that in the 13th century this was a thing.