Michel de Montaigne

Reading Notebook #3: I Distrust My Thoughts

Snippets from “The Life and Essays of Michel de Montaigne” by Jane Kramer, in the September 7, 2009, issue of The New Yorker. Montaigne … often warned his readers that nothing he wrote about himself was likely to apply for much longer than it took the ink he used, writing it, to dry. … “Yes. […]

Art of Possibility

Reading Notebook #2: Invent a Story That Enhances Your Life

Snippets from The Art of Possibility by Benjamin & Rosamund Zander.(See a really cool TED talk by Benjamin Zander.) It’s all invented anyway, so we might as well invent a story or a framework of meaning that enhances our quality of life and the life of those around us. … Virtually everybody wakes up in […]

Top 10 Moments on Inis Meain

1. Arrive at cottage late at night. The only heat source is the small stove in the living room. Unable to light a fire (run out of matches), so bundle up in coat, scarf, hat, and climb in bed under 3 layers of blankets. 2. Awake to pleasantly warm cottage (after taking off layers while […]

Reading Notebook #1: You Can Write Well & Behave Badly

From “Slang-Whanger” by Arthur Krystal in New Yorker (May 18, 2009) We don’t for a moment believe that Hazlitt is inept, or unattractive, or capable of behaving like a lunatic. You can’t write well and behave badly. But, of course, you can, and Hazlitt did. He cheated on his wife, alienated friends, and when Napoleon […]

Immigration Officers and the Meaning of Existence

I wasn’t expecting trouble when I passed through immigration at the Dublin airport. I’m American, I’m privileged, and I look like I spend a lot of time reading indoors. I was the second person standing in the non-EU control line. The person ahead of me was a young guy who wasn’t wearing any shoes. Earlier, […]

Stone Shed in Ireland

My First Post (From Ireland)

On December 16, I left the United States for a 2-week vacation in Ireland. A key objective while I’m here (in the quiet and remote Aran Islands) is to rebuild my homepage. Good progress today.