As I near the end of the first draft of my new novel, working as hard as I ever have in my life, I sometimes have to take a pause and recharge.

NBA playoffs. Constant music (Keith Jarrett solo, this Friday! Fifth row, keyboard side!) Constant politics (NYT, LAT, WSJ, MSNBC, CNN, Fox, Drudge, Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, Real Clear Politics, etc.) Intermittent Howard Stern.

And I go back to my masters to help me find explanations for current phenomena.

On today's Republican party --

"Nothing is more dangerous than active ignorance." – Goethe

On today's America --

"Any idiot can face a crisis; it's the day-to-day living that wears you out." – Chekhov

On violence in the Middle East --

"The hardest thing to see is what is right in front of your eyes." – Goethe 

On the legacy of Bush and Cheney --

"Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." – Flannery O'Connor 

On writing a novel --

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." – Emerson

On living every day --

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." – Plato


Some good things:

The Heptones -- BOOK OF RULES


The beginning of THE CHERRY ORCHARD – the great 1962 production with Peggy Ashcroft, John Gielgud, Dorothy Tutin, and very young Judi Dench


THE SEAGULL (1975) – with Frank Langella, Blythe Danner, Kevin McCarthy, and Lee Grant


A slice of my favorite Chekhov – the legendary Chichester Festival production of UNCLE VANYA with Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, Rosemary Harris, and Joan Plowright


A short course on Plato


An animation explaining Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" – from Book VII of The Republic


A short course on Goethe


A short course on Goethe's FAUST


Anna Netrebko sings The Jewel Song from Gounod's FAUST


A short documentary on Ralph Waldo Emerson


LOVE – an essay by Emerson


Flannery O'Connor reads "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" (1959)


Estelle Parsons reads Flannery O'Connor's "Everything That Rises Must Converge"


"Teaching Flannery O'Connor" – a very interesting seminar


and for good measure –

Kristen Chenoweth – "My New Philosophy"



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Christian Correa