As usual, there is much to write about, and, as usual, I’ve forgotten most of it.
I know there was something interesting to tell you, and a few other things that weren’t quite so riveting. Ah well, they say the first two signs of old age are poor memory and . . .
. . . I’m sure I’ll remember the other.
Sorry, it’s an old joke, but I have nothing better to offer.
I’ve just been reading a book on how to write poetry, It should have been subtitled “Or why self-publishing is dangerous“. It enables people who have lots of confidence, a few published poems and a couple of college courses to write books about how to write mediocre poetry. I can write mediocre poetry, I was hoping to read about how to write good stuff. There are always a few pointers you can pick up from a book like this but t is irksome to pay money for mediocrity.
I also bought a book of monostich poetry. Well, you have to keep learning, don’t you. 50 poems, each of one line. It cost 49p, so it wasn’t a fortune. On the other hand, it did highlight the perils of one-line poetry. There’s a type of haiku, which is often called a monostich or a monoku. One term is imprecise and the other is probably grammatically offensive to scholars of Japanese, but it’s all we have, unless you prefer “haiku written in one line”. I thought I’d have a look at it in more detail. It’s never too late to learn something new, even if it is that one line poetry is often a let down.
I just remembered one of the things I was going to say. A quiz question last night (final round of Pointless) wanted three obscure publications of the Bronte sisters. I said Villette, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I’m always worried about Villette because I wonder if I’m confusing it with the novel by Churchill, or Disraeli. However, I was correct – Villette and Agnes Grey were both pointless answers. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is slightly better known. I did know there was another less known one but couldn’t remember it. It is Shirley.
Churchill’s novel is Savrola. Disraeli wrote Vivian Grey and Sybil – close but not quite the same.
My point? I know the names of most of the Bronte novels, but have only ever read Jane Eyre, which convinced me never to read another. I have never even picked up Churchill’s novel or any by Disraeli. This highlights the difference between knowledge (which I have) and education, which I do not. So I bought The Canterbury Tales for my Kindle. You know where you are with Chaucer, even if you don’t know all the words. I will never be as well read as Derrick Knight, but I still have time to expand my mind.
I like the distinction between knowing a lot and being educated. There is a side issue about being educated but being stupid which is quite possible.
Yes, I have known a few people like that. Sad, as their parents have often paid a lot of money to achieve that result.
Wonderful post, Simon. Although this particular line’ “I know the names of most of the Bronte novels, but have only ever read Jane Eyre, which convinced me never to read another.” pierced my soul. However, I cannot claim to be a fan as I knew none of the answers. Bravo you.
I was able to read fluently at an early age (I was taught from the age of 3 when I was at nursery school and my parents and grandparents used to read with me. As a result, I read a lot of classics at an age when I couldn’t appreciate their true worth. In the absence of gunfights, hidden treasure and aeroplanes I developed a dislike of classic literature. When I tried the classics again recently I realised that this early dislike had saved me much pain. Cervantes, Melville and Austen are not for me. 🙂
Many people have travel bucket lists, but to borrow from Skyler, one of my blogging friends, one of the items on my bucket list is to read as many good books as I can before I “shuffle off this mortal coil.” I hope this will keep my brain active, but even it doesn’t, reading gives me so much delight.
That’s why I’m glad to have a functioning Kindle again – so much easier to read with the lighting built in. And at just over £2 The Canterbury Tales is a bargain.
Thank you very much for the nod, Quercus. I would have done well with that episode of Pointless, but don’t make the mistake of thinking I remember all I read – in fact, not much is retained, but the blog is a helpful aide memoire.
Yes, I’ve noticed my blog contains things I had forgotten. I also notice that yours sometimes links me back to things I have commented on but don’t recall reading. It’s a stage in my development I don’t entirely like.
I even forget my posts
Theoretically we never forget anything (though I don’t know if this is an opinion or a fact, to be honest) but in practice, when asked last night, I couldn’t remember what we had for tea last Friday. 🙂
I’d probably have to consult the bog for that
I’m thinking of archaeology now . . .
Years of formal education do not necessarily equate to intelligence, but I think you know that. There is nothing wrong with being an autodidact, Simon. Rick’s mother was an autodidact, being from the day and age where education for women was actively discouraged. Her brother was sent to college, she and her sister were not. She had an extensive library, and read widely. I learned much from her over the 18 years I knew her. She fought dementia (yes, with my help), continued to read and tried keep up with world events even in the last week of her life.
That’s the important thing, keeping your interest in learning until the last moment. The other thing about experts is, as a half-forgotten saying tells me, that they end up knowing everyhing about nohing. 🙂
The thing I try to remember is that one can learn from anyone. There will always be people who may be more or less skilled or knowledgeable than ourselves. Stay open, and kind.
Good advice. 🙂
What an inspiring story, Lavinia!
Yes, I agree! I noted that as an aspiration after reading it.
Thank you, Laurie and Jodi!
Keep learning is a good practice and hey you are persistent in keeping up with reading and this is good. Honestly for me, I never read the great Bronte novels but am so honed in economics, societal issues, laws, work papers that even reading the papers is kept to once a week. However I am kept updated with online reading. Maybe when I retire, I will have more time to read more novels instead of work related items.
Yes, it is possible to absorb much online, even if modern life doesn’t give us much time for sitting and reading. As long as I can have a plan, I feel i am using my life properly.
Indeed and I must learn from you to do the same. All I do is work, work, work…which is sad to me as I have no time for “frivolous” stuff which I rather prefer doing…stop and smell the roses if you know what I mean else I am “empty” I feel.
I’m not really a good example, you know. I spend too much time smelling roses and feel ashamed every time I think of you working hard. 🙂
😃🤗Thank you for being kind to spare me a think thought. Garfield hugs!