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Homework

During the break between semesters, I had planned to read two books about teaching, two books about writing and a third book about writing business documents. I’ve already slogged through one teaching book since Sunday, but as my colleague mediastarr would say, I just wasn’t feelin’ it. So I decided to read for pleasure instead.

Now on the reading tarmac, waiting to be cleared for takeoff: Mark Twain’s Fables of Man; two collections of poetry by ee cummings; and a collection of essays by Robert Benchley. It’s been too long since I read any Twain, and I’ve always liked cummings; his “I sing of olaf glad and big” is my favorite poem and resonates eerily today.

The Benchley is a bit of a risk. I discovered him in junior high school in an English reader and thought he was funny. In fact, I read all the Benchley and S.J. Perelman I could find back then. I’m hoping the Benchley will still be funny, but I’m apprehensive that it might not be. I don’t know why that would bother me, but it would. We’ll see …

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Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

“I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” – Voltaire

• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

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