Thursday, June 21, 2007


My curiosity is all over the map lately, which is not unusual over the span of my entire intellectual life, but is especially concentrated right now. I have multiple books open on my floor and nightstand. Audio books in the CD player. Online topics bookmarked for further research. Plus a whole queue of new Southern novelists reserved at the library.

On my third read-thru of Carl Jung's, Man and His Symbols, specifically its 83-page introductory essay, Approaching the Unconscious. His essay corrected some prejudices I've held about Jung's theories of archetypes and dream interpretation. Today these things have become encyclopedic, dubiously codified in so-called Guides to Dream Interpretation. As though I could look up a particular symbol, and unlock the mystery of my life. Jung never intended this. While he argues there are common symbols and motifs that appear in mythologies throughout time and place, dream symbolism is entirely individual. We may all dream of Heaven, but its meaning for us, its textures are personal. Now I see the intellectual connection between Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, and with my favorite novelist, Hermann Hesse, especially to his novels, Demian and Steppenwolf. I'm no psychologist and cannot speak to Jung's methodology, but I'm reconciled to the notion of archetypes, and to the pursuit of the Unconscious.

Hate crimes legislation is on my mind. Probably because it's Gay Pride season. Been researching Pro and Con sites. I have not yet made up my mind, but currently I lean toward Con. I see no need to add punishments to crimes based upon a person's attitudes or belief at the time. I don't believe in legislating morality. And I don't accept the deterrence argument. Sadly, many of the Con arguments come from rightwing Evangelicals and are anti-gay in their language, which only fuels the defensively emotional nature of the Pro argument. Gay marriage is a much more progressive, impactful effort.

I'm reading a biography plus online research about John James Audubon. Pending budget approval, I will portray Audubon with the Living History Theater company in November and December. They are funded by the Tourism and Convention Bureau, and each historical character is actually a line item. Audubon is a significant local personality, with a park named after him, my favorite park in New Orleans. Also, I've signed on with an agency, Carl Mack Presents, who send costumed performers to conventions, parties, second-lines, and other one-time events. They could also sell John James Audubon for speaking engagements and tours.

Reading Professor Edward Tufte's, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. In other words, explaining things with pictures. Or as I see its application in art, the techniques of visual persuasion. Tufte is famous for lecturing about a map that depicts Napoleon's march on Moscow and his defeated retreat. It's a map that tells a potent story, in multiple dimensions, something I aspire to do in my novel, Goodfriend.

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