classic lit

Can Did It

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired
  • Read a classic (book 3 of 4)
  • Try a new recipe
  • (Re)connect
  • Get selfishly creative

 

Candide

Classic #3 was Candide by Voltaire.

Here is the trouble with reading a classic on your own – sometimes you just don’t get it. I’m not afraid to say it. I didn’t particularly enjoy this book. Despite the constant action and the short chapters, it was repetitive and  tiresome. I have a feeling this is for two reasons: 1) I had no historical context, nothing to inform my reading and help me appreciate the satire, and 2) I had no one to discuss the book with, and therefore no one to make me slow down and reflect on my reading. (Already my appreciation is growing for the book as I write this post. Reflection is a big part of that.)

Published in 1759, Candide is a satirical look at philosophy, politics, and religion. It follows the misfortunes of Candide and companions around the world and demonstrates his transition from a young man full of optimism – accepting all as “for the best” – to an experienced man who honors the act of “cultivating your garden,” or (in my interpretation) actively taking control of your world. This, I imagine, is what I will ultimately take away from the reading experience.  Not a bad philosophy, really.

If you’re curious about the story yourself and want some familiarity with it, I found Leonard Bernstein’s operetta version (split into 12 separate videos) much more entertaining. As with all adaptations, the operetta is full of changes and exclusions, but it will give you the jist…and a few laughs.

 

 

 

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Goodbye February, Hello March

by Erin

It is the end of another month. I would still say that I am pretty pleased with what I have accomplished. In addition, I feel like I have already learned a lot in just these two months.

Explore a new place:

No progress yet, but I am thinking strongly about the possibilities. Does this mean something in my hometown? Does this mean some sort of trip? Or is this spiritual? And what does “explore” mean?  Does it mean simply encounter for the first time, or does it mean to really dig in?

Be inspired by two great people:

I am holding off on this one, too. As above, I’m thinking about what this could mean.

Read four classics:

Two down, two to go. What have I gained from this resolution so far?

1. From The Great Gatsby: Surrounding yourself with people does not mean you have friends. You have to truly connect to others. (Thank goodness for resolution #5!)

2.  From The Jungle: Though the book was written over 100 years ago there are still so many people hanging by a thread in our nation.  I believe that the book has renewed values in me that may have been quieted for a little while.

3. Also from The Jungle:  I am thankful for my vegetarianism. I do not advocate that everyone should be a vegetarian, but I do feel that we need to continue to look at our meat industry and decide what we are willing to accept as high quality practice and standards. Possibly to the detriment of our family grocery budget, I want to be even more vigilant when buying meat for the omnivores in our family.  There is so much more to learn. Do I sense another resolution?

4.  I have been inspired to read more classics beyond my goal. With this resolution I find that people keep giving me books. There is no reason I can’t knock off a few more from my “to read” list now.

Try six new recipes:

I found quickly this had to be tweaked. I guess I try out new recipes much more often than I anticipated.  So now it is recipe themes or “cooking adventures”. Where it stands so far:  I have made two of the three 15-minute meal recipes again and they will probably surface many times this year; I am on a citrus hiatus for a little while; I am still happy with my homemade cleaners. Where I am headed: I’m thinking about making my own cheeses. I also want to try a few recipes from the “Real Snacks” recipe book that I got for Christmas. This has led me to the purchase of those “strange” flours I keep seeing on the grocery shelves. The sixth theme/adventure idea has yet to surface and I will welcome suggestions.

flour

(Re)connect about once a month:

So far it has been a “first date” with another woman that I had only previously spent time with as members of our family units. We just made plans again, so this was worth the anxiety of trying the one-on-one for the first time. Then it was the family trip to meet friends for a weekend getaway. It was a nice reminder that creating a family does not  end your social life, though it does change it in profound ways. Currently, I have four envelopes addressed and sitting on my desk. My intention is to connect by means of those old fashioned letter things…now for the writing part of it. There are many more plans in progress so I feel good about my future prospects with this resolution.

Get selfishly “creative” about once a month:

I crave the process of creation. Beyond what I have shared here, I often take opportunities to make something new, something beautiful, something useful. The key word here is “selfish”. In this case, it is not doing it for others, but for myself, just because. With Big Box of Citrus and my upcoming 318 project, so far it has been about creating photos. As there are many more ways to create, there are many more ideas in progress. I’m just waiting for the right time. I am finding I am shy of a few ideas, though. Some of them also depend on timing as well as finances. I am sure that I will get close to fulfilling this resolution, but I may need more inspiration to come my way. Any ideas?