Wednesday, April 12, 2017

From the Past.  When I was in my twenties, I developed three ideas which enabled me to have courage to face challenges.  Just this week I reviewed them before undertaking a project.  There are three rules and one corollary, named for a friend who often told said it.   Ollie’s Three Rules:  (1) There’s nothing to it but to do it.  (2) Admit ignorance; yell for help.  (3) When in doubt, leave it out.  Frankie’s Corollary:  You don’t have to like it.

This week at a documentary film, I chatted with the man sitting next to me.  He was ten years my senior.  He said that he majored in philosophy at my alma mater.  Three hours later, I was talking with a young woman decades my junior at a New Age shop.  She was the owner and a practicing shaman.  She told me that she majored in philosophy at my alma mater.  In three hours I met two philosophy major from my alma mater.  Coincidence?  A wink from God?

In a drawing by Amy Hwang in The New Yorker, April 10, 2016, a doctor tells a patient, “You will live a long and healthy life if you abstain from anything that brings you joy.”  The caption causes pause.  There are many things in life that are unhealthy for us but which bring us joy.  Should we eliminate them from our lives?  Can we find things which are healthful for us that can provide us joy?  A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for foods low in carbohydrates.  I found strawberries.  Now strawberries bring me joy at breakfast almost every day.

Notes on Reading.  Fiction.  Six mystery stories by Edgar Allan Poe:  “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” “The Purloined Letter,” “The Gold Bug,” “‘Thou Art the Man,'” and “The Man in the Crowd” in The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Modern Library.

The Edgar Award, named for Poe, is given to the best mystery story of the year.  Poe invented the detective story.  I had never read all of the original stories.  I got the names of the six stories from an internet source, http://www.worlds-best-detective-crime-and-murder-mystery-books.com and enjoyed re-reading the three I had read and reading for the first time the three I had not read (“The Mystery of Marie Roget,” “‘Thou Art the Man’,” and “The Man of the Crowd”).

Details in these stories provide the conventions of modern detective fiction, conventions about which you can read in the given internet source.  Dupin, Poe’s detective, narrators, and character William LeGrand amaze the reader at their understanding of physical clues and human nature.  My favorite story: “‘Thou Art the Man.'”  The tone is uncharacteristically genial and the ending optimistic.

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About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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One Response to Wednesday, April 12, 2017

  1. Penny Evans says:

    It’s been so long since I’ve read a Poe mystery. I don’t remember which one I last read. I haven’t read them all, but I love the genre he started.
    I like your three rules and one corollary.

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