I am having a crisis.

An intellectual crisis.  I would call it an existential crisis, but frankly I know so little about philosophy that I might as well be saying “I am a blue Martian from outer space”, for all the accuracy that sort of statement would have.

Let me explain.
I have expanded my blog reading recently into a group of very interesting, very bright literature loving people.  I lurk and read.  In a nice way, of course.
The thing is you see, I am finding myself somewhat jealous of the intellectual capacity of these nice folk.  Let me be clear, I am not envious of them as individuals.  I am envious of the intellectual skill set that I see when I read their blogs.  I want to be able to assess what I am reading in a critical, well rounded way.  I want to be able to write with a great deal more erudition than I am currently capable of.  I want to have a slick, clever and readable writing style.  Most of all I want to be able to read the sorts of books that I have been enjoying the reviews of.  At this point my crisis rears its ugly head.

The last intellectual practice that I participated in was four years ago, before children.  It was an accounting paper that was meant to be the start of a new degree.  Depending on your world view, a Stage One accounting paper might not even count as intellectual.  In the years since then I have found my capacity to read ‘difficult’ or ‘challenging’ novels quite stunted.  I  bemoaned this problem a couple of years ago after beginning my Booklitzer 200 challenge.

I see this as a disconnect between the person I currently am, and the person I would like to be.  It certainly seems to be the case from where I am sitting.  I also struggle with the idea that the gap between these two self-views has become larger after having children.  While not wishing to cast aspersions on my beloved children, it is simply the case that my memory is not what it was and neither is my concentration.   I wish to remedy this.  I wish to close the gap.  I wish to “use it before I lose it” permanently.  Here is the crux of the matter…

How do you improve your intellectual capacity when you have about a total of two hours a day to yourself?  It isn’t as though I can sit and read my way through Kant or Kierkegaard while my toddler and pre-schooler are destroying the house and talking non-stop to me.

Help !

Ideas and a ten-step support group are required.

3 thoughts on “Crisis

  1. You’re already using it – just by reading, thinking and writing. If you want to write book reviews too, then write them – I’d certainly read them! And I don’t think that sounding clever in a blog post is about memory or concentration: it’s about the writing and you already write really well.


  2. Agree with the above comment: nothing wrong with your noggin. I don’t care too much for critical literature reviews, as they often come across as pretentious and are by nature highly speculative (a bit like the posh wine taster who gets ‘bouquets of lavender in a warm Provincial sun, with a hint of myrtle and the merest suggestion of a soft Sunday afternoon breeze from the South East’… what b/s). You write/ critically reflect on everyday life to make the potentially mundane interesting, pause on the details of which others remain ignorant or gloss over, and offer new insights and credible perspective on real life. You enunciate the lessons the rest of us can apply from happenings in your world and make accessible the take-home messages in the things you’ve read for those of us who are too lazy to read for ourselves, or otherwise occupied. That’s talent and a service, not a crisis. A few short words can be far more powerful than a diatribe. We who are about to read salute you!


  3. Thanks for the supportive comments.
    I guess I may have sounded a bit peevish. 😦 Well, maybe I am peevish.
    While having nothing against the sort of writing I do, other than the fact that I find it a bit too colloquial sometimes and lacking in depth and insight, it is pretty much “my voice”. You’d know this better, of course, Bruce after all these years.
    It’s just that I find myself yearning for a bit more depth of understanding in what I read and the recent additions to my feed reader show me what is possible in those terms and in the interesting choices of reading material. The blogs I refer to aren’t particularly pretentious – the authors are just very well read with a good all round depth of knowledge & describe the works they’ve read in a way that makes me want to run out and spend up on the books. Rather mean of them, really. 🙂

    But I must say that your comment,

    a bit like the posh wine taster who gets ‘bouquets of lavender in a warm Provincial sun, with a hint of myrtle and the merest suggestion of a soft Sunday afternoon breeze from the South East’

    absolutely cracked me up. I hope my old wine posts don’t sound like that.
    Speaking of which, perhaps it’s time to revisit that side of my blogging. It might make me a little less peevish. 😉


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