May 30th, 2012 | 151st day | 77°, partly cloudy, winds NNW 12 mph | Waxing Gibbous |
BULL VALLEY, IL. – With inexplicable gusto, I was once again able to add a 1,000th book to my bookshelf.
The original #1,000 was a 1929 copy of Anthology of Negro Literature, but that musty tome now resides on a desk at my father’s house. Taking its place this morning was Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski, a rather peculiar novel given to me by my Creative Writing teacher at the end of last year.
I possess works of literature ranging from Russian romance novels to 65 incomplete years worth of National Geographic magazines (yellow stripe above bookshelf), from the collected plays of Moliere to a history of the world salt trade, and from the Time Life Home Repair series to the exquisite Lo! and The Odd Book of Data. At last count, I could call 1,048 books my own.
Today was another day spent chiefly in cleaning, rearranging and sorting (with the books, not so much). I dumped several additional stacks of business cards into my collection to be catalogued at a later date (see Picture of the Day) and resorted to gathering bird photos for this blog.
My grand furcate skill - that congruous strength and weakness - is that I think best (and worst) about thinking. Truly, I don’t have any right to a grandiose image where I am portrayed as noteworthy for knowing my flaws. I may lust for a Right Livelihood Award, but that end is on a different course than what my present means can meet.
We, the bibliophagous, are learned, yet are faulty. The problem with bookworms is that we do not always draft our corrigenda; we may know the death-watch borer is prone to riddling our works, but we never hear the sound of it. Books can educate a man, but a people lives on practicalities.
The modern American education system and society at large commend book smarts. The ability to fill in bubbles determines our fate. Those whose genius lies in hands and their physical manifestations are discounted when a college-prepared logician is added to the lineup. I’m almost sorry that I want to change the world, and help others to do it, since the new classical education gets suspicious of the nonconforming.
Nonconforming, of course, is the fad. If we sidestep the moral morass (or maze, if you’re a structuralist), there’s more fun charting the unknown, defining ourselves, but with books alone, we leave out the crucial contextual component.
Ironically, I’ve observed the most originality from the theoreticians, while the change-makers – the practitioners – live the simple life of following the flow. What a poor, reversed fate for us all!
Because I know I’ll be far removed from this monitor in less than a week (I cannot express my joy in words, and I’m not being sarcastic!) I’m skimming as much as the broad world of Wikipedia can offer. Today I researched Mordechai Vanunu and the Xhosa people and the relationship between the metaphysical works of Gilles Deleuze and experimental music. Looking through this hodge-podge collection of works gives my youthful wanderings a path to avoid.
It’s a start.
I’m definitely meant to be a collector; thoughts, bird names on crumpled paper lists, songs of experience and newfound terms I’ll forget by next Thursday all seem like the natural extension of my bookishness. I hoardknowledge, letting it ferment in the best-furnished of chambers. I don’t even realize there’s an alternative. The very scent of knowledge wasting away is ecstasy!
Now I’ll describe what has certainly occurred today, for the rest, I suppose, is indeterminable. After errands and a haircut I passed briefly through MCCD’s Glacial Park in hopes of spotting a few easy marshland species for the McHenry County Audubon’s year list competition (I’m in 4th!), and was successful. The dickcissel is a new life list species.
151. Wilson’s Phalarope
152. Black Tern
254. Dickcissel (Spiza americana) – 5/30/2012 – Glacial Park, Ringwood, IL
This prairie species, somewhere between a sparrow and a finch, but with plumage patterns most closely resembling that of a meadowlark, is not a difficult find. After entering the park, I pulled over by the Powers-Walker House to scan the Lost Valley Marsh, inhabited by the usual egrets, great blue herons and blackbirds – no Yellow-headed, though. Meadowlarks, a bobolink and the dickcissel were flushed out of the tallgrass as my Pontiac rumbled across the gravel lane over to the kettle marsh. There was observed the tern and phalarope, a sora, phoebe and a boisterous Hispanic family.
To end this fickle little post…
I know that there are many persons to whom it seems derogatory to link a body of philosophic ideas to the social life and culture of their epoch. They seem to accept a dogma of immaculate conception of philosophical systems.