23 February 2014

Fair warning

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Over the past week, sick as a dog, I tried my best to get some reading in during times when I could see and think straight (which wasn't very often, but I really did try).

(An update on that whole sickness thing, by the way: after visiting the doctor on day four-and-feeling-worse I was told that I didn't in fact have pneumonia, but did have some sort of viral infection and was prescribed antibiotics in the event that it did affect the lungs. So essentially, all the symptoms of pneumonia without the actual part that makes it pneumonia. Go figure! It was very miserable and weird. I hardly ever get sick, so when I do I tend to come down with the dumbest things. But I'm about 90% out of it now and feeling much, much better!)

I ordered a book online a few weeks ago, ostensibly for my dissertation and some background reading on Black Mountain College, but more or less just for a really interesting memoir about a time and place I find more and more I wish I could have been a part of. Fair warning, I'm probably going to be writing all sorts of stuff about this great experimental arts college as the summer goes on because it's going to be my sole academic focus. Go figure, I've chosen an incredibly American subject to study while I'm in Scotland! Alas, another example of how being abroad can give you a new perspective on home, even if Black Mountain, NC is quite a ways away from my own in WI. ;)

This book was awesome. It's certainly not one for everybody, but if you're acquainted with some of the players at BMC (artists and writers like Franz Kline, Charles Olson, and so many more) then Fielding Dawson's memoir is like a mini goldmine. The Black Mountain Book is essentially a string of anecdotes written in an off-the-cuff sort of stream-of-consciousness style, but the author offers really illuminating insights into his experience and the workings of this college. I'll certainly be rereading it to parse out names and other items of interest, but for a quick, fun read, I'd definitely recommend it.


  1. Glad to hear you're feeling better! Viral non-pneumonia sounds like no fun at all.

    I totally know what you mean about being abroad giving you a new perspective on home, in both our cases the States. A writer friend of mine warned me that I might go to Finland to write about Finland and end up writing about the U.S. instead, because the distance and contrast can make memories of home so clear in one's mind - it's really cool how that happens.

    I'm a huge fan of progressive education and always curious to learn about different models, so I'm adding this book to my wish list! Thanks for the recommendation :)


    1. Thank you! :D Reminds me... James Joyce famously wrote all about Dublin once he wasn't there anymore. Perspective is a powerful thing, especially when it comes to creativity!