How even the best writers are affected by bad reviews

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I have mentioned that I very much liked the writer Kenneth Gergen and especially his book,” The saturated society”

http://identitythoughts.wordpress.com/2009/02/11/the-saturated-self-dilemmas-of-identity-in-contemporary-life-kenneth-j-gergen-pt-2/

http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/553/1198e”

I think it’s  beautifully written and explains the bad side of post modernism but also how differently it could be used.He got a very good review on the Washington Post but later got a terrible one in the NYT.In an interview he told how this affected him badly until the man who wrote the review died ten years later,I’ll put a link in here later.http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=SweMLEe6TpgC&pg=PA294&lpg=PA294&dq=kenneth+gergen+the+saturated+self++washington+post+review&source=bl&ots=_lKF4I_lVi&sig=VEbgQl1ZpIwcLgfw3S5M5sI9__U&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JJ_VUtfLEeaP7AaviYHwCA&ved=0CGwQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=kenneth%20gergen%20the%20saturated%20self%20%20washington%20post%20review&f=false.

!He used to wake up at night with thoughts of what he’s like to do to this person.This shows how even someone of high quality can be wounded easily/

Most people who read English novels have heard of Virginia Woolf. She was highly acclaimed yet had breakdowns whilst awaiting reviews .Eventually she committed suicide during WW2.Her husband was Jewish and she was afraid of what would happen if the Germans invaded Britain.

But her mental health was fragile after losing her mother and favourite older sister in her teens and also possibly being sexually assaulted by her half brother.Despite al this she had  much happiness and is one  of the most highly acclaimed women writers of the 20th century…not much good  to her of course

Sylvia Plath a great poet  a generation after Woolf also committed suicide and later became known as one of the best poets of our time

http://www.neatorama.com/2008/03/18/writers-who-suffered-from-the-sylvia-plath-effect/#!scilW

Would you like to be a tormented genius and enter the literary canon or just be an ordinary,moderately happy person? Most of us are not so gifted in any case.

Some of us believe that others with more gifts,more money,more winning personalities are much happier,but it’s not true.Many geniuses are troubled.

On the other hand being troubled by itself will not make you a genius,alas.Everybody is troubled at times.Sometimes a poet may use it

Emmanuel Levinas, Don Quixote, and the Hunger of the Other Man

Schlemiel Theory

DownloadedFile-2

Like many Jews over the centuries, I am fasting to commemorate the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD.  Now that I’m in middle of the fast, I’m having a hard time distracting myself from my hunger.  In the midst of being enthralled with my hunger, an academic memory came to my rescue.   I remember how the Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, in apposition to the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, argued that it’s not about my death and suffering (as Heidegger would say (in translation) my “being-towards-death”), it’s about the death and the suffering of the other.  Echoing this, I thought: perhaps Levinas is right, it’s not about my hunger; it’s about the hunger of the other.

Strangely enough, Levinas writes about the “hunger of the other man” in relation to Don Quixote (a comic figure which has appeared quite often in Schlemiel in Theory).  In…

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Sand in our eyes

From primitive man to now
BBC News`

Most of what we learn we learn without trying or even knowing consciously.We learn to talk by listening and being close to others… imagine trying to teach it!We learn at school a few things like how to read but we also learn about power,fear,bullying,tormenting and the obedience expected.We may have learned this at home.
We find we are not in charge of our bodies.We must sit on a hard wooden seat for hours and go to the lavatory when it suits the adults.In a sense we learn to be slaves… or that we are slaves.Our will is to be bent to the will of others,our desires are of no worth.
Now and then we may be expected to break out and write a poem or a story..we lose the knack of this as we learn to judge ourselves critically.We learn to do something if it is judged worthwhile in its outcome and we learn not to do things just for pleasure..We must turn play into work.. then we wonder why so many young people are taking to drugs and other ways of altering consciousness.
Children are very cruel anyway because they feel what they want is most important.When I was a baby in a pram my mum used to leave me outside the front door as fresh air was important.One day a girl from up the street who was about ten asked if she could take me for a walk.
My mother thought she was too young though it was not unusual for this to happen….
So she went to a builder’s yard,got some sand,came back and threw it into my eyes…!!
I can’t remember it but I do remember my brothers being in there and fighting.. which they never stopped really….childhood hate and envy are powerful.
I learned then that my life was constantly in danger as I was lying there next to them and no doubt receiving a few blows.But just hearing them and watching them and being unable to get away was frightening..I could not speak nor walk then though I learned to speak very young with hearing them fighting all day long.
Once they tried to drown me in a mill pond.I never told anyone;no wonder I grew up nervous.Just once they let me go with them onto the moors and make a fire to boil water and make tea… I loved it.Girls could not go up there alone
I suppose it gave me a double message.Men have better games than women but they are aggressive and may turn on you and they win in fights.
I wonder why nobody ever stopped their aggression and look at the world

Book review:The society of timid souls by Polly Morland

shades of grey

The book I am reading now is called”, The Society of Timid Souls”  written by Polly Morland.

Here is a very good in depth review of it and a photo of a bull fight

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/may/19/timid-souls-polly-morland-review

She is a good writer,mainly in journalism and also she works  making documentaries.The title comes from a Society that existed in New York starting around the time of Pear Harbour.It was for musiciand too timid ti play in public.From that which ended in 1946 she goe on to look at many situations which need courage such as bravery in war,in giving birth,in bull fighting.She is well read and has studied Aristotle,read Beowulf and many other serious  books and writings.Yet it is not a very difficult read.[I like hard books because I read them several times so they last longer.]The  intriguing part so far is about animals and birds which won awards for bravery.. such as pigeons in WW2 and whether an animal can be brave in the true sense.I have read half this book and strongly recommend it as suitable to a wide range of readers and also because it makes reading Aristotle seem normal,not just for scholars and academics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotelian_ethics

You can get Ethics by Aristotle as a free kindle book

You have to pay a little for Nichomacean Ethics and there is more than one translation so look inside before you buy it.I feel amazed by his thinking and wonder  if we’ve gone backwards

Shame

I have just been thinking of how  both when I was a child ad later there was a very strong emphasis on  guilt and sin,but not on shame which I think is more painful or isolating.I am not quite sure what shame is but I am planning to find our.

Guilt is fear  about something  bad you have done.

Shame seems to be total feeling of being u nworthy as a person

We need to trust the world before we can see

tWeeds or flowers I have become interested in virtue and perception.It began when I read  a little Aristotle about virtue being a habit.That was quite recent.Before that for many years I believed virtuous acts would follow from being able to perceive well.But when we are fraught our minds and eyes tighten up and so we perceive only what may be a danger to us.To perceive others well we need to be in a position to trust others and we need to feel secure.How is this possible?From my studies I read that our ability to trust begins with a trusted caregiver in infancy,[See” atttachment and loss “by John Bowlby reference to come] We may be able to become more secure later by good fortune,friendship and love.If not,I seem to get the idea that if we are insecure and nervous we cannot truly perceive others and they may be in the same position.If we are very afraid then virtuous acts may be hard to accomplish. The reason is obvious… when. we are concerned with  mere survival as a person , in that state what we do to others  may be impossible for us to consider.We cannot truly see them and so we cannot act well towards them except by good luck.Or if we are able to tolerate great anxiety,we may see better…. if not we are incapable…. Those whom we cannot see properly we cannot truly consider with feeling  and act on this feeling.We see them partly or mainly in terms of the fearful fantasies in our minds and cannot see them as  other and interesting.When we make a friend online we may feel safer but in fact we are more likely to misperceive them. When we are from a sad a or difficut background it may help greatly if we have some friends who might point out our errors if we trust enough to tell them.Or we may pretend to be hard and tough.Neither leads to virtue.If we trust God it may help but I believe we see God through the lens of our parents.. which is not good…depending on the parents. When we live in fear,we cannot see what is there before us.We cannot let go.We cannot accept grace and love nor give it.We will try to live by will power.Ironically people who are fearful inside can develop a shell of toughness and pride and so are not seen as vulnerable  and/or lovable.Tbey may seem frightening to others. This account may help to explain why politics is the way it is and also  we see that arguing is not persuasive when the other is not able to open up and see things more broadly.Arguing makes us tighten up and see less well.And it can be frightening too though some cultures find it more acceptable than others.

Here are some relevant blogs and articles

This author had a lot to say about perception… http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-marion-milner-1163951.html   http://susannanelson.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/happy-go-lucky/

http://glimpsejournal.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/the-real-bees-knees-stunning-micro-view-of-the-workers-behind-your-mothers-day-flowers/

Honest to goodness: Finding virtue in ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’

Intriguing

susanna nelson

This article appeared in Screen Education Issue 65 (Autumn 2012).

A seam of oddball characters and misfits runs through much of Mike Leigh’s body of work – from the jittery chain-smoker Nicola (Jane Horrocks) in Life is Sweet (1991) to the arch misanthropist Johnny (David Thewlis) in Naked (1993). Leigh is the master of the character study film, documenting ordinary people who live their lives outside of the norm. Leigh’s recent comedy, Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), examines the life of Poppy (Sally Hawkins), a garrulous 30-year-old North London primary school teacher with a sunny disposition. Poppy has a close-knit bunch of friends, a healthy social life and she takes a running jump at most challenges in life armed with nothing but her cracking sense of humour and a belief that things will all work out for the best. It says something about the ever-evolving ‘norm’ that Leigh’s latest outcast is someone…

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Those words I’ve never yet understood

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synecdoche/

Synecdoche is a word I never knew.Metaphors and similes we were taught in school but metonym was not and synecdoche is related to that.An example is calling workmen on your farm “hired hands” and so would calling a woman a housewife,perhaps.I doubt if I shall use this word as I once tried to tell a joke at a dinner party involving the word,”solipsist” and it went down like a ton of bricks!

No,for social purposes I need to watch” low level” TV and get used to language which was never used in my youth; nowadays I could say,Oh fucking hell,I’ve lost my ear ring but not,I like a good metaphor that is not hackneyed,Or,what do you think of metonyms?

I also need to watch fat bald chefs cooking daft recipes full of limes,cream and spices before watching the News to find which celebrity is on trial for raping children.Then I have to watch soap operas and adverts for Swedish cars before microwaving a ready made meal I froze 3 months ago.Then I shall be fit to dine with the good and the great in their houses wth magnolia walls , chaise longues and oval beech dining tables.And eat those Nigella Lawson recipes without recalling her ex-husband art collector Charles Saatchi

On second thoughts I’ll stay at home with the dictionary and the cat

an

Reading Lawrence Le Shan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_LeShan

For many years I have enjoyed the writings of Le shan.Recently I discovered that he had written a book about Evil.He also treated people with cancer for many years.I admire him

I am reading it slowly.I recommend,Alternate Realities from which some of his terminology comes.His book in Meditation is the best I have ever found.I was reading it as I was on a train going to my father in law’s funeral and a beautiful image cane to my mind

http://artquotes.robertgenn.com/auth_search.php?authid=6217

http://artquotes.robertgenn.com/auth_search.php?authid=6217

Lawrence LeShan -A man will be effective to the degree that he is able to concentrate! Concentration is not basically a mode of doing but above all a mode of Being. (Lawrence LeShan)

Hard-Core Literature Course

You will enjoy this blog about literature

Clarissa's Blog

I can’t wait for students to start registering for the next semester because I have developed this really hardcore literature course and I’m worried that not enough people will want to take it. We have this departmental culture that is based on the idea that students don’t like literature, that literature is too hard for them, and that they don’t want to take anything but language courses. A course in the XVIIIth-century Spanish Drama sounds hard, and it will be hard. I made no effort to make it sound sexy. There are no hobbits, goblins, sci-fi elements, or anything of the kind.

The course will be even harder than it sounds. A ton of reading, a lot of writing, and I want them to produce a real research paper at the end. This is not even a 400-level course but I was writing research papers in my 300-level courses, so…

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The importance of learning to distinguish anger from violence

Hopebuilding

Anger makes me uncomfortable, I must admit. And last month, I finally realized exactly why that is. It is because for me anger has often seemed indistinguishable from violence, whether it is direct or indirect. Anger seems dangerous, uncontrolled, and frightening, and so I have often had difficulty expressing anger or hearing others express anger to me.

I have discovered I am not alone in that. I attended the Anger, Boundaries and Safety workshop at The Haven, on the west coast of Canada. The Haven is a place where I have gone several times over the past 15 years to learn about myself – why I think and behave the way I do, how it affects my relationships with those around me, and how I can change what I don’t like and celebrate what I do like.

This workshop is based on the pioneering work on anger done by the…

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Lunacy, or Mind Freeing Emotions: a lens

Free Association on the ego and the self

Having studied at a Freudian Drive institute, Carl Jung came up very little in the classroom conversations about dreams or spirituality.  Freud did not write as prolifically about dreams, and certainly his writings did not gain the wide spread influence that Jung has had on the dream world.  Nonetheless, both forms of analysis emphasize the importance of the unconscious.  For Freud, dreams were the royal road to the unconscious.  For Jung they may have come from the same source, but they were meant as portals to the soul.

In our day and age, I think it is fair to categorize Freud as an ego analysis and to characterize Jung and a spirit analysts.  Again, I caution, you will probably find just as much similarities and differences between these two men, certainly at their earliest writings they had a mutual admiration society going between them.  Sadly it turned into brotherly quarrels that were…

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