I note that I didn’t post anything to the blog in February and that it’s now past mid-March. So what have I been up to in that time? Most of my keeping track has been managed on yellow pads, but one of the most recent distractions was email from HR65 about our 55th Reunion, delayed 2 years because of COVID and now scheduled to take place in May, and do we want to register and attend? This sort of thing usually puts me into some sort of tailspin: I surprised myself by actually enjoying the 50th Reunion, back in 2015 (which seems another world entirely), but my ambivalence about Harvard is pretty close to the surface. The 55th is basically a day of ‘symposia’ (which means listening to erstwhile classmates talk about something, and tends toward the Grand Questions) with bits in between for “breakout sessions” that are supposed to evoke conversation. I run screaming, but ?why? … and I have an answer to that. Or maybe it’s an Answer. The question one is surely likely to be asked (if anybody asks anything) is “so what have you been doing?” and you get a few minutes to try to say something significant, memorable, fulfilling. Ugh. But imagining that socially discomfiting question did inspire me to try to sculpt an Answer (impossible to deliver/convey in the allotted few minutes, and to a complete stranger at that), if only to remind myself about what actually matters.
So here goes: at the core of what I’ve been doing in the 16 1/2 years since I retired and moved to Maine has been curation of a lifetime of enthusiasms, putting It All Together for myself and perhaps for some as-yet-unimagined audience. There’s a catalog of activities that span parts of that 16 1/2 years:
- 14 years in support of Alice (1925-2010) and Wick (1924-2019)
- about 15 years of yoga
- about 14 years rekindling Photography (see Ilachinski workshop)
- 16 1/2 years of working on Musics (a mostly-solitary pursuit of great complexity)
- about 7 years (2013-2019) of travel (and 2 years of not-travel, 2020-present)
- about 6 years of trash pickup (since 2016 election)
- about 5 years (2015-2020) working on a dozen photo books
- about 5 years being more involved with writing, much of it to keep track of thoughts re: Convivium Questions
- and throughout, reading and buying books that bear upon enthusiasms
- reorganizing the personal Libraries, a vast enterprise in negentropy
- And of course playing at hypertext, working toward building a Lifebox.
Each of those is a saga of discoveries, far too complex for that elevator-pitch few minutes, and mediated by incoming periodicals and blog posts and books. In short, I’ve been enjoying my life day-to-day, no boredom or lack of things to do, and being pretty private about most of that, though it’s at oook.info for anybody to explore ad lib. I’m on the Periphery in almost every way, spatially and intellectually and practically, working at blamelessness. Self-absorbed covers it pretty well.