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ITEM #1: I was being just a little facetious in the last post. I'm not against tourism or traveling (I'm occasionally guilty of it myself), but I think the quixotic twentysomething high fructose attitude misses something. I think the experience of "travel" as described in that pic (by the text, irrespective of the image) is qualified by three things: work, weirdness, discomfort. Traveling (really traveling) can be edifying, but the full experience of going beyond your boundaries means coming up against work, weirdness, and discomfort. It has to be unnerving and unpleasant, at least on occasion. You haven't really left your comfort zone until you've found yourself wanting to go back at least once. If what you call Travel is lacking work, weirdness, or discomfort, it's not the authentic specimen. It might be Tourism, Visiting, or Just Passing Through, but I doubt that it's Travel.
Here's that Emerson quote in a bit more context, from "Self-Reliance:"
It is for want of self-culture that the superstition of Travelling, whose idols are Italy, England, Egypt, retains its fascination for all educated Americans. They who made England, Italy, or Greece venerable in the imagination did so by sticking fast where they were, like an axis of the earth. In manly hours, we feel that duty is our place. The soul is no traveller; the wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or into foreign lands, he is at home still, and shall make men sensible by the expression of his countenance, that he goes the missionary of wisdom and virtue, and visits cities and men like a sovereign, and not like an interloper or a valet.
I have no churlish objection to the circumnavigation of the globe, for the purposes of art, of study, and benevolence, so that the man is first domesticated, or does not go abroad with the hope of finding somewhat greater than he knows. He who travels to be amused, or to get somewhat which he does not carry, travels away from himself, and grows old even in youth among old things. In Thebes, in Palmyra, his will and mind have become old and dilapidated as they. He carries ruins to ruins.
Travelling is a fool's paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.
ITEM #2: Right, right. New calendar year. I am listing these "resolutions" so I'll be on record saying I intend to do them.
A History of the Warfare Between Science and Theology in Christendom, Andrew D. White. Title might be self-explanatory. The two-volume magnum opus of Cornell University's founder is full of chapter titles like "From Creation to Evolution," "From Magic to Chemistry and Physics," and "From Signs and Wonders to Law in the Heavens." Meaty!
Science and the Modern World, Alfred N. Whitehead. Attempt #3. This time I do it for real. This time I will be taking notes and pounding espresso shots every five minutes. (Fun fact: Science and the Modern World was the densest object conceived by humanity until the existence of neutron stars was proposed in 1934.)
Cryptonomicon, Neil Stephenson. After bugging me to read it for years, my old man finally got fed up and slammed a copy of Cryptonomicon into my hands on Christmas. Guess I have no excuses now.
White-Jacket, Herman Melville. Why yes, I do intend to eventually read Herman's whole extant body of fiction. If I could get away with digging him up, propping him up on an easy chair in the living room, and sharing brunch with him every morning, I'd do that too.
Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy. Been too highly recommended by too many people not to vault towards the front of the queue.
At least two novels written in the last five years. I'm open to suggestion.
Publishing (A): My goal is to get at least three (3) pieces of short fiction published in the next year.
Publishing (B): I have a novel-length manuscript called "All the Lonely People" that I need to deal with. I've compiled a list of forty more people/places to send it two for a second round of pitching, bringing the total close to a hundred. If there are no takers this time around, I'm just going to self-publish the damn thing and get on with my life (even though I'd rather clamp jumper cables to my testicles than take that route again).
MOTHER 3 writeup: I'll be honest. I have no interest in video game crit lately. Don't ask me why; I don't know why. My brain turns into a lighter without any flint when I try to do it. But I haven't given up on taking on MOTHER 3; it represents unfinished business. (I am also willing to finish covering the Legacy of Kain pieces, but my asking price is $300 per game.)
Start on a new novel?: I see a conflict of interest between this and the first item of the next section.
Begin titling blog posts like Upworthy articles: See above.
Quit smoking. Right, right. Again. It's only been a month and a half since I relapsed, and I'm already at the stage where I can't have a cig without UGH GROSS WHY AM I DOING THIS flashing through my mind at least once. It comes sooner and sooner every time.
Learn how to forage. Too many of my hobbies and interests are cloistered in the intellect. I want to cultivate a skill that has some practical value, that gets my hands dirty, and that yields something physical and usable for my trouble. My lady friend is a veteran chef, and I've lately been indulging in fantasies where I vanish into the woods and reappear with a wheelbarrow full of edibles that she converts into meals. It's a beautiful dream, but I'm not deluding myself: I fully expect I will poison us both at least once. Hmm. Guess I'll have to add a few field guides and biology textbooks to that reading list, huh.
Start keeping a dream journal. Doubt I can actually make a habit of it, but it's something I'd like to do.
Learn to love myself. Yeah, nope. Don't see it happening. Maybe I'll just settle for learning to like everyone else a little less.