Sunday, January 02, 2005

Resolution

Main Entry: res·o·lu·tion
Pronunciation: "re-z&-'lü-sh&n
Function: noun

5 : the point in a literary work at which the chief dramatic complication is worked out

9 a. An explanation, as of a problem or puzzle; a solution. b. The part of a literary work in which the complications of the plot are resolved or simplified.

Strength of will

I don't make resolutions.

Last year I stated a few, for the sake of form, but within a few days I forgot what they were.

New year's resolutions are an artificial construct. Every day is in fact the start of a new year and as appropriate a time as any to better oneself.

Trust me. New year's eve was much better spent drinking champagne while listening to, and mocking, our Kraftwerk collection.

Determining a course of action

At Orient Lodge an old chant is remembered: "Our Life, is more than Our Work, and Our Work is more than Our Job."

Mental Multivitamin offers some appropriate and meaningful suggestions. The challenge is taken up at Seeking Clarity, and spirit is echoed by SC&A.

Hmmm.

Coming into focus

I took a few English courses in university. Most of them bored me. But I learned something in Modern British Poetry about how to read (more than just poetry) and the importance of structure of thought, if not form.

The one class that stands out in my memory as supremely interesting and which garnered a lot of energy from me was on dystopian literature. I suppose that in itself speaks volumes about my predispositions and worldview.

All this to say, I do not read as an academic.

Though I earn my living as an editor, it's a very different kind of material that I'm naturally drawn to: Nor do I read as a professional.

I read as someone who takes solace in the feel of a book, who enjoys a good story, who wonders what makes people tick, who wonders what if.

How it all turns out

The point is always a variation of the combination of the following:

  • to live each day to its fullest
  • to be a better person


I've been reading Iain Pears' The Dream of Scipio in fits and starts over the last couple weeks. I'd hoped to add this to the list of books read in 2004, but what with those pesky family interruptions in my life of the mind, I've only managed to read the first half-dozen dozen pages (that's 72), albeit numerous times to recall and refresh.

The stories of three men at three different critical moments of Western civilization, linked by some writings and by geography, are interwoven in such a way as to invite comparison and the drawing of parallels. Inevitably I draw into this matrix my own life and place in history. For this opportunity for contemplation and self-reflection I'm grateful to have read each paragraph thrice.

Was Julien a mere bookworm? Or was he sensitive to the outside world, could he absorb time and place, feel history in the stones and use this to make his work more sensitive and more subtle? Are you a mere pedant, Monsieur? Or do you have the spark of vitality inside you? Will you do something with your life? Answer my question with all the wit at your disposal and let us see.


Can reading make you a better person? Not for the mere stores of knowledge it results in. But perhaps, if it makes us more understanding and encourages us to undertake our days thoughtfully and in awareness.

3 comments:

GaelicGrl said...

Well, I suppose it would depend upon what you mean by a better person. Personally, I think reading can make one a more contemplative person.

Anonymous said...

Reading absolutely makes you a better person! Never imply otherwise, or I'll have to rethink my entire worldview, and where would I be then?!?

No, seriously, "What is the use of reading?" is a question very much on my mind right now as I ponder Dickens from the viewpoint of a ballerina in space...

--R

Isabella said...

That's the funniest thing I've heard all day.

Poor ballerina. Though it's obvious she has an appreciation for the arts.

Still laughing.