For typical classicists, our function as language learners is to translate for others, not to speak. This is obvious, and I have no qualms with it.
Still, there are some problematic implications of this.
We are structured to learn, only in a way that is designed to reproduce. Thus we reproduce in our translations the classical world of the past that we are taught. Doubtlessly this history evolves and develops through the works of excellent classicists and archaeologists year after year, but somewhere in the mind of the student is the habitual habit of translation that they learned in class. This word = x. This idea = x.
What is the correct translation? What is the right (orthodox) history?
Is there more than one way to tell a story?
Don’t words have multiple valences?
I want to talk about those books that we always “meant” to read, but we never had “the time”. The books that just sit on the shelf, but we cant bring ourselves to give them up.
Why do I keep these books there, sitting on my shelf day after day like useless freeloaders. A book is only as useful as it is useful to me now. I must have felt the need of that use when I first obtained it, but if that need has passed, why hold on to it? If I’m counting on it’s use in the future, I’m banking on a need or possibility that may never come or that I could even do without.
So why not make use of it now?
Give it to a friend.
Get creative. (take bits and pieces of it with you.)
There is no perfect book out there. Only the one you’ve found.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Both of these habits show what each of us value.
I read. My roomate practices.
Whether youre a morning person or not (and whenever that time comes for you), I think that first thing you do in the morning can say a lot about a person. It’s the thing you fall on without thinking. It’s your natural disposition.
What does it say about you?
Maybe I should add: what’s the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
“The atom is a very small thing, yet very powerful when split. The smallest acts are like atoms. They often turn out to be the most important acts of our lives. So once I identify the big, scary, imagined task as a distortion produced by my own worried mind, I want to go small, as small as possible.”
– Steve Chandler
The substances is me.
Read More or Die (ReadMOD) is the mother of all immersion contests. This game is not for the faint of heart…. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating all of that. It can be as intense as you want it to be, but if you want to win you better be one hardcore immersing ninja.
In this reading contest, competitors from all over the twitterverse come together to see who can read the most in their target language(s) in a month. You can set personal goals or go for the gold, but beware the Black Dragon.
I love this idea because it encourages people to put down the grammar books and just start playing with the language. The best part? ReadMOD is happening right now! After seeing it, I immediately registered and picked my German copy of Lord of the Rings, Die Zwei Turme to be exact, and submitted an entry. I don’t have much of a prayer of catching up, but I’m going to set a personal best that I can challenge next round. I hope you’ll join me! Do you summer reading in a different language!
Learn how to play here: http://readmod.wordpress.com/category/how-to/
Register here (it’s free of course!): readmod.com
My inaugural ReadMOD submission:
I’ll be reading in German, Greek, and Latin (shhh….).
If you want, you can stalk my German progress here: http://readmod.com/rounds/201406/de
read time: 1 min. approx
To blog or not to blog? That is the question that has plagued my mind month after month. After a longstanding existential bout with myself over my reasons for blogging, I unplugged and completely deleted a project that I had been working on for months.
I started writing again out of necessity. A need to write. It started after a conversation with my friend Matt. The conversation happened almost a year ago, but I keep coming back to it even now. In that conversation I remember Matt asking me: How do you want to live?
1. more compassionate
What a powerful word! To me, right now, this means to live more along with people, shoulder to shoulder. It means that I need to be more patient with the people that have been placed in my life (people who undoubtedly are already patient enough with me), to hear them out, and to listen to what they have to say without needing to respond. I want to cultivate a mindfulness of compassion, moment by moment.
2. more capable
I want to understand the world around me more, and I want to be able to live and to participate in it in a real way. I want to try things that I am bad at, but I also want to take what I am good at and blow it out of the water.
3. more focused
I desire greater focus for the tasks laid before me. Why? If being productive means reading about productivity, then I am a productivity master. In reality, I too easily allow myself to be swamped with the anxiety of todo lists and calendars. I desire a focus in my life that will allow me to be fruitful with the time given to me for work so that I can be generous all the time that is left. I need a stronger sense of presence both at work and at play.And that’s why I will write. I will write to hold myself accountable to change, and I will write to perceive this change in myself.
You, the reader
Perhaps more important than the task of writing for myself is you, the reader. I could write all these sweet, little personal revelations in my own journal and lock that away in a old drawer somewhere. Instead, I’m writing here. This medium makes my words a little more real, both for you and me.
I’m writing to you out there who might be a little like me. Maybe something I write here will click with you and set you on a different path to doing something amazing.
I’m writing to you out there who might feel a little stuck or overwhelmed. I hope that something I write will help you to see that you are not really stuck. You are just on the verge of a breakthrough.
This is a blog of practice and shared discovery. It is not the platform of a know-it-all to know-nothings, but the recordings of a know-something to other know-somethings.
And, most importantly, this is only just the first little post. It is just the first step of many more… on the way to more.
My friend Ben and I (but mostly Ben – I’m the idea guy), made this Latin Lookup bookmarklet.
When you encounter an unknown Latin word online, highlight it and click this bookmarklet. Then sit back as the script automatically finds the word in Perseus and loads the page for you. Magicus.
Load this code into the space for a new bookmark and click away: