Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1100 Posts ... Is It Possible?

"Is it possible ...?" asks the young servant Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew--he's just watched his master, Lucentio (also young), fall in love (first sight) with the young and lovely Bianca, sister to Katherine, the "shrew" of the title of Shakespeare's early play. Tranio is asking about something quite different from what I'm going to write about here, but I like the question nonetheless.

This is blog post #1100. When I began DawnReader on January 6, 2012 (link to initial post), I wasn't really too sure what I was going to be doing. I figured I'd write about books (I read a lot; I'm a book reviewer for Kirkus Reviews and the Cleveland Plain Dealer), about schools (I used to teach--45 years, as a matter of fact--middle school, high school, college), about ... whatever (whatever). And so I have done.

I've done some other things, too. I've serialized several books on this site, books which I subsequently revised and uploaded to KindleDirect, where, on Amazon, they await your purchase! (You can check my Amazon Author page by following this link.) And I am currently serializing Frankenstein Sundae, a memoir about my ten-year pursuit of Mary Shelley and her Frankenstein. This draft I've been posting (2-3 times per week) is very, very ROUGH--i.e., it often sucks), but I have hopes for it--though it will take much revision. But, hey, I'm retired ... what else am I gonna do?

I've put little notes here each time I've reached 100 posts, and I never look at how many "hits" I've had on the site until I reach a new 100. I've discovered that I don't really care about the number. I'm pretty much writing for myself--and for those in the family who will live after me--so as I type these very words (Tuesday evening), I don't know the latest figures; I'm going to pause a minute and go check ... [pause]...


Okay, let's divide that by 1100 ... an average of about 194 hits/day. Not bad. Actually, I am very surprised it's that high. As I've said before, the total hits I have is equal to what, oh, any random blogging celebrity earns in twenty minutes, but for me? Not bad.

I haven't missed very many days. Illness and travel have been the only excuses, though even when I'm traveling, I try to keep up with DawnReader. There are days I don't feel like it, believe me, but the Puritan Conscience I inherited from the Osborn side of the family is like a cattle prod that "suggests" I sit down at the computer anyway. And I almost always obey the prod. (Who wouldn't? It hurts!)

So, anyway, Tranio's question ... here's the little exchange from the play:

I pray, sir, tell me, is it possible
That love should of a sudden take such hold?
O Tranio, till I found it to be true,
I never thought it possible or likely;
Tranio, I burn, I pine, I perish, Tranio,
If I achieve not this young modest girl.
Counsel me, Tranio, for I know thou canst;
Assist me, Tranio, for I know thou wilt.
Well, Lucentio ends up with Bianca (to his sorrow)--a double wedding with her sister Kate and her mad suitor, Petruchio, and the end of the play.

When our son, Steve, was at Western Reserve Academy (1986-1990), he got to play Lucentio in Shrew, a play I'd taught to his class in the 8th grade at Harmon School in Aurora. (Also in that cast--Aurora's Andy Paul, whom I also taught and who was, I think, Petruchio?) I'd directed those boys a half-dozen times in middle school productions, and when I saw them onstage in Shrew, guess what my tear ducts were doing?

I'm not sure what any of this has to do with DawnReader #1100 ... but that's the nice thing about a blog, isn't it? It doesn't really have to make much sense! And I love the thought that blog sounds a lot like bog, which is exactly where I find myself mired many mornings.

I'll end with this. In 1797, William Godwin (father of the child who would become Mary Shelley--a child born this very year) published a collection of essays called The Enquirer: Reflections on Education, Manners and Literature. Early in the fourth essay ("On the Sources of Genius") he says this: When a man writes a book of methodical investigation, he does not write because he understands the subject, but he understands the subject because he has written. He was an uninstructed tyro, exposed to a thousand foolish and miserable mistakes, when he began his work, compared with the degree of proficiency to which he has attained, when he has finished it.

Oh yes. But I would broaden what he said: It's not just books of methodical investigation; no, it's just about any kind of writing we do. Writing clarifies our thinking, and we often don't know for sure what we really think until we've written.

And so ... DawnReader will continue to be the place where I figure things out--sometimes clumsily, sometimes incompletely, sometimes ridiculously, sometimes not at all. But it's the effort that counts, right?

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