Saturday, May 31, 2014

CHEAPLY GLORIOUS?


What do they call the hour or so before magic hour when things are softly bright and still have some of broad daylight’s charm and cheer? I just went for a short walk (could only get in 20 or so minutes) but the air was as comforting and nurturing as cool down. I wish I could capture this not-quite-lazy time when the air is so silken and the light is forgiving.

I got up early this morning, well, at least before 8:00 a.m. I have so much housework and many personal projects to do, and I knew I would be needing and wanting a nap, that I headed out to the garage with my coffee to get busy on my refinishing projects. I must have worked for three or so hours, mostly listening to Jhumpa Lahiri's latest short story collection Unaccustomed Earth, but switching over to some random spot in Crime and Punishment as well. I just like listening, I guess. Good progress on the bureau/dresser and I am well into the tricky parts of the oak chair, the turned spindles. I'll try to post a picture. The pine nightstand is ready for sanding.



It's a week later! So much for my daily practice. 

I'm in Brooklyn, having celebrated B1's birthday a bit. There was a New Yorker in the bathroom that I picked up. As so often happens, I immediately stumbled across an interesting thought in a book review. (James Wood, not the actor James Woods, is mighty smart.)

There is a difference between knowingness and knowledge, but what is it? Knowingness comes after knowledge; it is only the echo of its source, and it is proud to be the echo. One of the liberties of our connected age is that we can be almost infinitely knowing, consoling our lack of true knowledge with an easy cynicism of acquisition. It is cheaply glorious to be able to discover almost any fact about the world on the machine I am using to write this review: I experience that liberty as the reward it is, and also as a punishment; as both a gift of the digital world and a judgment on my scant acquaintance with the actual world.

Speak for yourself, you may say. Who is this "we," so easily invoked? If knowingness is capitalism's gift to those metropolitan Ã©lites who haven't earned it, there are also multitudes of people, constrained by poverty and political oppression and the bad luck of obscurity, who don't deserve the brutal "knowledge" that is being meted out daily on their lives; they would be very grateful for the privileges of knowingness. And, by the way, would you, in Paris or New York or London, really rather know less, as the price of being less knowing?

James Wood, The World As We Know It, The New Yorker, May 19, 2014

Well, now that's something to think about. 

Meanwhile, I'm going to get dressed and meander over to the Farmer's Market for some herbs to plant for the few weeks I'll still be in Long Island. They'll probably grow fast and it will save me the exorbitant prices, not to mention the waste of not using up all the herbs I buy. 

It is a glorious day, cheap or otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. Boy, Sally Anne, you certainly picked a good excerpt for me to read. How I envy you the reading you do, so many buried treasures...
    Keep them coming, please. Love and all that matters, Dollie

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