Convivial Question

Back in the day when I had classroom audiences, I’d tell them ahead of time what the “essay question” would be on the (still compulsory) exam, so that they could prepare something artful and interesting, and so that I wouldn’t have to read scores of bluebooks of blather. It sort of worked, because some took the opportunity to think about the question and actually tried to make a coherent response.

In crafting today’s Question for the Convivium, it’s been useful to me to explore how I find and explicate the idea. The starting place (Georges Perec in this case), the cross-connections, the contributions of others (Kate, in this instance, in response to my blog post), the influence of new input streams (reading the morning’s array of blog postings on my RSS feed), the writing down of passing thoughts for later consideration and integration… all very worthwhile to observe and recognize. Maria Popova’s relation of Ernst Haeckel’s tragedy and response is a glowing entrée to thinking about what Popova denominates elsewhere in today’s harvest as “…this intricate tessellation of being…”

Last night, Kate followed up the jigsaw puzzle line of thought with the observation that we are accustomed to the pieces of our lives fitting together, making patterns that we understand. But what’s now afoot for many is a disruption of the understood, the puzzle pieces unmoored and scattered, and many are now going nuts not being able to do the familiar, and with perspectives altered: twisted, fractured, adrift…

So what’s a constructive, healthy, satisfying response to such disorientation? For me I recognize that it’s finding something outside the inner selves (noting that, for some, the Inner is echoing, scary, empty, where the personal demons are), something that links with others. In my own case it’s turning out to be making stuff: the “word books” blogging project, the sending of links to various friends and relations, exploration and amelioration of various bits of long-standing disorganization.

What’s your response? Commence filling your bluebooks…

2 thoughts on “Convivial Question

  1. AvatarKent Lee Anderson

    The crows are back today after disappearing for perhaps a week or five days. Bad luck for them, I’m out of peanuts because Supersaver has temporarily cordoned off the selfserve bulk foods area. Can’t really be sanitized so presents an obvious disease vector. Like a doorknob. I myself am recovering from a persistent common cold, likely Corona rather than Rhino…so good thing the testing dragnets have overlooked me or I’d be somewhere confined to quarters being presumptive positive.
    Medicine is being made incomprehensible by the Words Erasers bunch. Why? $$$$$.
    We have Grants Writers dressed up as Researchers.
    It has been overcast here and one morning at the crack of dawn, I ventured to peek out the door. In dense fog, the crow sat waiting so I grabbed some peanuts and threw them at her.
    Her Honor the skinny Mayor Leirion announced our right to peaceably assemble is now limited to groups no more than 10, keeping 6 feet apart at all times with violations punishable by up to 6 months in jail which in this State is 170 percent over capacity and under Federal Court Order to initiate severe population reduction no doubt an Obama judge which the State will accomplish by building new prisons because no one wants to stop the local judges from sending everyone arrested to jail.
    Except of course Walmart with its essential groceries.
    Here the panic purchases of toilet paper took place in an unbearably orderly fashion. From my kiosk I watched the terrorized people walk out with their csrts overflowing with TP and bottled water. They bought all the cold medicines as well. Paper towels went when the TP was gone. And why not? I don ‘t that day of fear they would have respected yellow tape cordoning off the cob bin either if we had a cob bin.

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