Man looking at a book in his office

Looking for a pithy quotation for the website in Susan Sontag’s On Photography. I don’t think I succeeded finding anything there this time, though.

Cold and clear, the moon was just a sliver in the east-south-east sky when Rosie and I walked.

Arlene had another bad night of restlessness and concern about the “state of things.” I, too, am worried that we’re in for an extended period of unrest and contention. And it seems to me that the contention isn’t even about matters held in common. Facts–the things we normally have shared broadly–no longer link our thoughts and views in some sort of loose common purpose. As someone who has worked almost my entire career in institutions that are committed to learning and to truth, this is really distressing. But the proceedings of January 6 at the Capitol have steeled whatever softness I might have had in giving any slack to “alternate facts,” misinformation, and disinformation. Some things cannot really be a matter of discussion because they are so outlandish or contrast so clearly and painfully with ideals that the US has tried, for better or worse, to live up to. I think of Mr. Trump’s delusions and the bizzarro world of QAnon. As a nation, we sure haven’t become a city upon a hill, and I’m afraid that we’ve slipped quite a ways down the slope in recent years.

I suppose those are reasons enough to be restless and concerned at night.

The chair has been getting several coats of paint. The wood has become quite thirsty over the decades, and the paint has soaked in, gradually tinting the surface more evenly with every coat. I think the paint will be quite nice. The chair is rather a challenge to paint with its ornate turns and spins and elaborate decoration. I think another day or two will do it.

Today I actually got back to a chapter of my book that has languished since April 26, 2020, when I last saved the document. It’s my “glamour” chapter. It was good to see it with fresh eyes. And, actually, it’s in pretty decent shape, though perhaps the loose ends in the last third of the chapter need some significant work. I had cut-n-pasted sections toward the end of the chapter that I felt needed to be worked in, but that resisted my efforts last Spring. So, the last bits are just snippets, rather like broken glass at the end of a sidewalk. Right now, the piece weighs in at about 9,000 words, which seems rather hefty.

Today, I also brought the camera into the new study to “watch” me do desk work. I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time at the desk in order to get the photos up on the web and write on my daily journal. But that seems a little like meta-work on this project–should the project document the creation of the project? I figured, heck, I’m working on it and it’s occupying part of the day, so, yeah, maybe it should be documented in all it’s glorious boring splendor. My justification for the surveillance camera in the study was easier when I picked up the glamour chapter, too.

I should elaborate a bit on a picture that went up yesterday, the one that had the bold headline “LANDMARK DESTROYED.” Arlene found the sheet in a chest when she was going through stuff in the new bedroom closet. The flyer was created by unknown perpetrators that I worked with in the 1980s and 1990s at Duke’s TIP, which recently was disbanded as a result of the dislocations of the pandemic. The flyer is a piece of the fun-loving and energetic atmosphere that we had in the early days of the organization. I was delighted that the flyer resurfaced, and I’m getting a frame for it to put up in the new study. We must have carried that document around the country, and now it’s come back to us after almost forty years. It’s dot-matrix printed, and probably created using MacWrite. I wonder who the author was, though I do have my suspicions.

Rosie has come in on her own accord and settled into her dog bed between my desk and Arlene’s. It’s a cozy and warm room, much cozier than the old study which was bigger and a bit more lit up by windows. It’s also warmer up here, which is nice in winter.

It’s also nice to have the companionship of a dog.