Saturday, February 28, 2015
Father Theodore Hesburgh, former long-time president of Notre Dame University, has died at age 97. I took note of him here in 2004. I also owe him for introducing me to Sigrid Undset's magnificent novel Kristin Lavransdatter. I've written about this book often on this blog. You can search the archive at site:www.sciencemusings.com lavransdatter.
Friday, February 20, 2015
My daughter Margaret is a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which means I occasionally get a pre-publication copy of a favorite author. And so it is that I am reading Donald Hall's latest, Essays After Eighty, with a lovely close-up photo of the grizzled old poet on the cover.
Hall, 85, claims he no longer has the mental agility for poetry - that most demanding of the language arts. His essays however are as quick and lively as ever. Prose after eighty.
I dabbled in poetry as a young man, but quickly gave it up; even then I knew I lacked the wherewithal. Now, as I approach eighty, prose too is slipping from my (quaky, Parkinson) grasp.
Some of you have recommended voice-transcription software, but, like Hall, my greatest pleasure in writing is revision. And so I slip into silence.
I may not have Donald Hall's considerable gifts of poetry and prose, but I increasingly share his octogenarian fondness for naps.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Monday, February 09, 2015
For some time I have been tempted to collect the dozens of commentaries I have posted here over the past decade on works of visual art, which have given interpretive expression to the themes that define this blog. For the first time I am scrolling through the archive, starting in 2004. I'm a little astonished at how many words I have compiled here, more than all my books put together, more than 20 years of Globe columns. Here's a little essay from 2006, more life support for the blog.