This was supposed to be a writing day — a writing-for-work day. I am writing about Pierre de la Ramee, aka Peter Ramus, who was a rhetorician and pedagogue back in the 16th century in France. I have worked on a few rhetoricians and pedagogues recently, which is a good opportunity to reflect on some of my favorite subjects: education, and how we know what we think we know.
Yet every time I sit at the computer to start writing a short summary of his life and work, I stall out and start reading. Facebook and The Daily Dish are good bets for frequently updated content, plus I get a lot of e-mails, so it’s not hard to keep the not-writing up for hours on end. Except that after hours of not-writing on end I feel so frazzled. Hence the beer at my right elbow!
Taking a cue from the book The Artist’s Way, which I read back when I was a fairly new mother and everyone was reading it, I figured I needed to cease the input and get some output, any output.
Thoughts from the week:
— I’ve been intrigued by comments about neuroticism and women on the previous post. It’s not something I’ve thought a lot about. I’m familiar with the concept of feminine behavior being pathologized, but while observing it in history and literature from the past, I have tended to gloss over more modern versions of same. It also seems that some masculine behavior is now pathologized, at least in school-age boys. I think we can’t get past the belief that things like cultural identity of any sort are some kind of unnatural accretion, and that underneath there is something pure and true. If we scrub off the cultural things — like gender or class — our true selves will shine.
To quote John McLoughlin: Wrong!
This reminds me to take it easier on myself and steer clear of Platonic ideals for psychological health. I look forward to Cher Mere getting around to her research on the subject!
— I have been faithfully watching The Colbert Report this week and loving it. Video recap of the week in Iraq is here. I love that he discussed DADT, I laughed at the Tom Hanks bit — heck, I even though W.’s brief appearance was pretty funny and good sport-ish. Mostly I just really like Stephen Colbert, and I liked the way that going to Iraq seemed to bring out a little of the person under the character, like at this moment:
I love that photo. (If you haven’t seen/heard, Colbert got a super-buzz in solidarity (of sorts) with the troops.)
— So far so good: I am “doing history” with the girls together. I never thought this work out, but really I decided that Victoria’s history stuff (based on the Sonlight Core 1) was so much more lively than Violet’s more workbook-based stuff (based on Sonlight Core 5) that I just read it with the two of them.
Violet seems to enjoy some read-aloud time, and since Victoria has a little edge in the Middle East geography department (she has been learning about this region a little longer), she likes knowing something Violet doesn’t. She was positively gloating when Violet wasn’t sure about finding Egypt on a map.
I will fill in with some more reading for Violet, but mainly it is nice to spend the time together as a threesome. The togetherness seems to stoke their curiosity somehow. Plus it is practice for being together without fighting.
I have been reading a lot of things I don’t normally read, and continue to be plagued by the question, Why Write? I remember that Ben Jonson had a strong antitheatrical bent yet was of course a brilliant playwright. I am hardly a brilliant writer of anything, yet I am developing this suspicion of writing and writers that Jonson would be proud of.