Blog Post

Today’s Work

Today I wrote 1026 words total: two drafts of a poem, and the rest on my Irish book and an essay.

I also wrote Austin Kleon what Carolyn See calls a charming note, basically a fan letter. This is because last night I read his book Show Your Work! which was the shot in the arm that got me to start posting here daily (so far). Today I read his book Steal Like An Artist! Both books are a lot of fun to read and can help you get your artistic ass in gear, so to speak. They remind me of Steven Pressfield’s War of Art, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and Carolyn See’s Making a Literary Life.

And totally going off what I had planned to read, I read 104 pages of a book called The Starship and the Canoe by Kenneth Brower about the relationship of the physicist Freeman Dyson with his son George back in the 1970s. The book is best described by itself when the author quotes Freeman Dyson lecturing about J. D. Bernal, a physicist who had proclaimed humankind would eventually have to spread to other planets, to colonize space, overcoming its weaknesses with rationality and technology:

” ‘He [Bernal] foresaw that mankind might split into two species, one following the technological path which he described, the other holding on as best it could to the ancient folkways of natural living. And he recognized that the dispersion of mankind into the vastness of space is precisely what is required for such a split of the species to occur without intolerable strife and social disruption.’

“But did Bernal foresee that the split might appear between one generation and the next? Did it occur to Freeman, as he paraphrased in London, that this speciation might already have come to pass–that he and his son were different animals?”

That is, because his son, at the time, was living in a treehouse he had built on the west coast of Canada and trying to build the best canoe one could possibly have in the treacherous waters around Vancouver Island and north.

It is a fascinating book; I might lose some sleep finishing it. I have never been a fan of the space colonization idea, seeing as how colonization doesn’t seem to go very well on earth, but this book does make me want to read Freeman Dyson’s books–I read and enjoy his essays in NYRB–and also George Dyson’s Turing’s Cathedral.

Go with the good.

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