In case you’ve never thought about the connection of Socrates and Dorothy Day…

You should totally watch this lively talk that Cornel West gave on Dorothy Day at the Catholic Worker in NYC:

 

Meanwhile, I would happily listen to Cornel West read the phonebook—and every time I see this clip of him from the doc Examined Life, I totally wish that this was my classroom presence:

In other news, I’m nearly at the end of the semester, so expect thoughts beyond YouTube videos to appear here in the near future . . .

7 Quick Takes, er, Quotes

20131129_184452

I’ve been MIA on the blog for some time now (though, on the plus side, I have managed to finish my dissertation prospectus, and I’m halfway through a draft of chapter 1!). But while I’ve been neglecting my writing, I’ve not been neglecting my reading. Thought I’d use this Quick Takes to share with you a few of the quotes that have been most haunting me over the past couple of months. I leave it to you, dear Reader, to trace their connections and inhabit their tensions.

— 1 —

Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal is short (the text runs a little shy of 40 pages), but still completely worth purchasing because, like O’Connor’s short stories, it packs a big punch in a short space. The following is one of its most powerful moments:

Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon. The crescent is very beautiful and perhaps that is all one like I am should or could see; but what I am afraid of, dear God, is that my self shadow will grow so large that it blocks the whole moon, and that I will judge myself by the shadow that is nothing.

Continue reading

Three Ways of Looking at a Mess

The Apartment

4270270214_6149f07b4e

There are several reasons why I live alone—as an only child, I intensely value my privacy and personal space—but one reason is that I’m messy. Not “leaving the dishes from tonight to do tomorrow” messy but “leaving the dishes from Monday to do on Sunday” messy. Dishes, vacuuming, washing the sheets, picking up dirty clothes off the floor—these, for some reason, can feel like oppressive tasks even when banging out a twenty to thirty page seminar paper over the course of the weekend seems like a piece of cake.

Despite all of this, I’m not a hoarder. I don’t like my messes, I don’t find myself cultivating them, and—when I do get around to cleaning—I’m inclined to chuck even perfectly usable items into the trash just to get them out of the way. The messes in my life don’t feel like a part of me; rather, they feel like something out to get me. The brief joy of a clean apartment quickly becomes a reminder of the triumph of entropy.

I throw a lot of parties, largely to give me the kick-in-the-butt I need to get things clean. I may be able to live with my messes, but heaven forbid that anybody else get to see them. I’ve flat out kept friends on my doorstep while I ran in to grab something because I won’t let them see how I live. Messiness is a source of embarrassment, a sign that I don’t have my life fully together, an admission that my attempts at ordering, sorting, and systematizing all ultimately come to naught.

Continue reading