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Plans and Procrastination

December 10, 2011

This glimpse into a Massachusetts birding society reminded me that I’d intended to write about the Wellfleet Audubon lands and other Cape Cod adventures. I’d planned, more specifically, to write about not writing about them; I suppose I could rejoice in the idea that not writing about not writing about them trumps that.

Eventually, I’ll also talk about the woefully neglected but magnificent memoirist/novelist Sybille Bedford. There may also still be more on the English Romantics in Rome, but I fear my chemistry with them may have been a fleeting thing.

More committed is my long-term relationship with the Transcendentalists. Would that we lived in a world where Benjamin Anastas’s willful misreading of Emerson might cause public argument; I suspect its readers collectively shrugged. He ignores Emerson’s real concern with authenticity, and it’s a stretch to blame Emerson for libertarianism run amok, but Anastas makes a good (if obvious) point in reminding us that rebellion and self-loyalty on their own aren’t necessarily strategies to rightness or success.

David Beardsley’s “Emerson: The Ideal in America” is more enjoyable.

Among the other bits that have been delightful distractions from Things I Mean To Do are these links regarding ancient fishing artifacts, the lives of octopi and avian architecture. This collection of authors’ responses (and non-responses) to a high school student’s 1963 questionnaire about symbolism is worth a look too, and I might become a regular viewer of these eclipse- and transit-espying space cams.


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