October 10, 2004
Goings on of late.
Panoramic of the Ohio River, Paducah, Kentucky. Have had a very busy week. We played hooky from the university last Monday to trek to Paducah, Kentucky -- a quiet little river town in northwestern Kentucky that is across the river from Illinois and is the place where three large rivers meet. I found a copy of Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines at a shop there for a mere $4 that I hope I will get to read soon. Despite the legends of "Kentucky rednecks" and such, the folks of northwestern Kentucky are very nice and some of the friendliest people I've come across. And so polite! I otherwise had a busy week and didn't get to post much, not that I got any work done at all. On Thursday night, we drove all of the way to and through St. Louis, Missouri to pick up a Harvard historian from the airport for a talk she was giving Friday at SIU. She really is a lovely person, and her talk was excellent. My wife knows her from her years at the Crimson Stain (my term, thanks), so she spent several hours with us at our home Friday night, over numerous cups of coffee, talking about history, academia and reading. A wonderful person, really. She's as un-Harvard as they come, and I mean that as a very high compliment. I'm re-committing to getting more work done this week, damn it. And I have the perfect film as inspiration: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It's such a lucid depiction of frenzied studying and genius at work that it gives me, at least, something to strive to. None of that "playing god" business, though. Really, I have no talents for science, and I'm certainly no genius.