Friday, July 23, 2021

 So today, which seems to be the 31, e.g. halloween, I zoomed to visit the crypt of the St. John the Divine Cathedral, to which I actually belong, and have visited for years -- first, with my friend Patrick Cullen, to see and hear Philippe Petit climbing a wire far above the main altar to the ceiling of the cathedral, as I think I remember, to the music of Bach's Art of the Fugue, which felt wonderfully appropriate. We marveled at the rubato pauses he made on his way up, and then today heard, in a message before we plunged into the crypt,  about his traversing the road on a wire to give a crown to Dean Morton: the safest way to cross over, and we all agreed.

And now, anxiously (yes, the Age of Anxiety, the United States of Anxiety indeed), as we peruse the paper, in between what we are doing: my husband on the hardest challenge of the mathematical games he plays and myself trying to get in shape the last two essays on my selected essays for a book yet again with Reaktion Books: From Symbolism to Surrealism... I find in the always grand New York Times for Sunday November 1(MB 9) a piece on "The Console", run by Brandon Woolf,  a professor at NYU who sits at a small table in Brooklyn, writing letters on a 1940's vintage portable Royal typewriter. The piece,  by Deborah L.  Jacobs, is called "Taking Time to Write to People Who Feel Blue", and there he is, a professor and performance artist, doing just what to me seems just right, right now He is wearing a navy blue T.-shirt emblazoned with the Postal Service Logo, to which no one objects. He teaches two courses on Zoom and directs the Program in Dramatic Literature for undergraduates. I love it. 

I teach on zoom also, of course, in my mini-seminar which is really a Reading Group at the commons of the Graduate School of CUNY, where I have been for a remarkably long time, happily. We were reading John Berger and Thomas Bernhard and Wittgenstein and then Bruce Chatwin, and all of us would bring in whatever we felt like discussing --- actually, I am reading Hope Mirrlees, the partner of the great Jane Harrison at Cambridge, for her astounding 1920 poem about Paris, and trying to share it. 

Big question, as always: how do we share and what and for how long can you. hold the participants' interest on a zoom: I. think about an hour and half is right....And recently, I have been following Parker Ramsay, who has had a two night a week class on Bach and the way in which he moved from early to the Art of the Fugue and the Musical Offering (my favorites from always, although Glenn Gould and the Goldbergs impassioned me from the start), and I shall follow his class on music and Five Great writers (Nietsche and Thomas Mann, etc.) in January.

That is looking forward and tonight I am thinking a bit backwardly,  having seen Obama speaking of Biden and Harris and wishing we had such a president again... All my crossable fingers and eyes are crossed, hoping..

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