Friday, August 13, 2010

Reflections in a dime store mirror.

As you may or may not know, I am just pages from finishing Peter Watson's epic survey of German Genius called, appropriately enough "German Genius." The book is compendious, but every page--or nearly so--introduces you to a thinker you didn't know before or a work you were unaware of. In other words, it is a book chock-full of learning, of ideas of thoughts. It is a respite from the extemporaneous world of advertising where people perseverate over real or imagined slights, like their name misplaced on a memo or a boss that's dumber than they.

It's good to read such books. Good to know that there are, still, minds and thoughts and artists and writers and engineers and musicians and physicists who aren't talking about Lady Gaga or a wayward flight-attending loonie.

Reading such work is a vacation. A vacation or retreat, for me, that is not much different from Thoreau spending a year in the woods. I can't do that. I have miles to go and promises to keep, but I can take half-an-hour every evening or even an hour and say "the world is too much with us" and thereby leave it for a while.

The crush of red lights blinking to tell you you're wanted, of Microsoft meeting maker meetings or the incidental travails that mark life are more than we are meant to take. We are meant to smell ideas, touch art and eat music. Not just live in the here and now.

Your work will be better if you do.

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