Friday, November 24, 2006

The Lost Month

Uh, November's almost over? What? The month that began with such optimism -- thoughts of a novel in a month -- has sort of gone nowhere rapidly. When the inevitable best-selling biography of Greg is written, November 2006 will be summed up in two words: "little happened."

As you've probably gleaned, the Nanowrimo attempt went nowhere. It wasn't even a valiant attempt. I grew un-thrilled with my initial idea about 1500 words in, decided to switch, and just didn't get going.

Curiously, I'm not that discouraged (though displeased by my shoddy work ethic). I'm actually anxious to resume work on a previously-started project, so maybe some good will come out of this.

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But in the absence of Nanowrimo, what have I been doing? Well, I'm not really sure. I haven't been blogging that much. I haven't been out shooting photos. I haven't been climbing mountains. I haven't been furiously plowing through books. The month's just sort of ebbed away.

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Did get through another fine book though-- pretty much just getting it to the point where I'll fall just short of 50 for the year, disappointing everyone:

#40 -- "Rites of Spring" by Modris Eksteins

I picked this up on a whim some time ago, then worried that it was far too academic for my tastes, as it gathered dust on the shelf. I'm glad I did follow my whim: it's fantastic. Oh so complex, but wonderfully written.

Eksteins links the birth of modernism and avant-garde in art to the changes in society that brought about the World Wars. The thread may get a bit thin at times, and I'm not sure I have the necessary background to be able to even grasp some of his arguments, but it's a great book. It's a testament to his skill that Eksteins can make things like ballet interesting to me -- I was captivated by "Rites of Spring" and found myself reading it in bigger chunks than is normal for Mr. Short Attention Span over here.

I don't know how general the appeal is -- this isn't for a casual history buff, really -- but I learned a considerable amount and enjoyed reading it. It highlighted, also, just how little I really know beyond the basics of WWI, something that'll have to be addressed sometime in the future.

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