01 February 2012


Every so often I experience a day when lethargy overtakes me (I’m using an active verb to express by own lack of initiative. The energy resides grammatically elsewhere and outside me. I am its object and not its subject). I move listlessly from chair to chair, book to book, computer screen to computer screen, reading a page here and writing a paragraph there. Then I arise from whatever chair I have chosen when the music stopped and begin the cycle again, sometimes in the place exchanging one book or document for another. Like a narcoleptic, I fall asleep everywhere I settle. Finally, I can’t account for my time or truly say what I’ve actually done.
I do wonder what causes these episodes when I am thoroughly depleted of vigor and initiative. Nothing interests me and I can’t seem to engage anywhere. I am not content in this state as evidenced in the restlessness with which I roam the premises, but I also can’t gather the energies required to move myself out of the lassitude. Perhaps it was last night’s dreams.
I tried reading Leslie Vaughn’s book on Randolph Bourne and the politics of cultural radicalism. I have always respected Bourne. At a difficult historical moment he chose to be a public intellectual and held to the idea that the application of intelligence could address social problems. He broke with his mentor John Dewey over the latter’s support for American entry into World War I. Bourne was a cultural critic and believed that the work of the intellectual should practically address the social struggle. I think that it is this purpose that attracts me to the work of Lionel Trilling and that drives my own purpose in the classroom, in the family and in my own writingsthough not today, of course, when I seem to have no drive, no classes, and the family remains far flung. Trilling has sent me to Jane Austen whose Emma I recently finished and whose Mansfield Park I am slowly working my way through at presentthough as I said, not today. I also this day didn’t read two other books I’ve previously entered.
Though it is only the first of February, the robins (four of them at the moment) have been settling on the bare branches outside my windows. They have been fooled by the unusual mildness of the weather. They suspect Spring, and they peck about for nesting materials. Gary and I couldn’t find the ducks and the geese this morning swimming in their usual sheltered spot on the river; they too must have shifted to Spring spots. I am not fooled, and await with trepidation and dismay a severe snow storm in the nearer rather than the distant days.
I am conserving my energies.


Blogger Christina said...

I just found your blog after reading a Martha Eddy article about somatic practices in which she quotes you ("Educator Alan Block (1997) concurs, going so far as to say that schools do violence by not allowing movement and somatic awareness to factor into the curriculum."). I am a dancer at somaticist in North Carolina. Need to spend some time on your blog, but, Hello!

01 February, 2012 18:51  
Blogger A. Alan Block said...

Lovely to hear from you . . .

01 February, 2012 19:34  

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