La Marquise Du Châtelet


From the play Emilie by Lauren Gunderson:

Emilie and Voltaire have built “the largest library in Europe… and live in it,” but by the end of Act I, there is discord.

EMILIE: For once consider the idea that you could be mistaken, that you could be fallible in this one scenario, lonely as it may be in the immensity of your usual correctness. Science isn’t theatre, you can’t pick the ending because it sounds nice. Listen to me.

I know.


Posting a pic of new books (and, yes, these latest acquisitions did violate my resolution, so I lasted, what, six weeks?) is not writing an entry. In sketching out my plans for the upcoming four-day weekend, though, I added “Write about books read so far this year,” so fingers crossed. (I don’t think I’ve contributed a single post to this year’s version of 52 Books. Here’s hoping they remember me when I finally make my way over there.)

My part-time job is not the culprit, by the way. It’s the flute. Deliberate practice requires time, and in addition to my weekly lesson, I must prepare my band pieces. Yes, I joined a community band, and what a lot of fun it’s been! But also a lot of work. Although I played clarinet in middle and high school, my music education was spotty, at best; so much so that I generally maintain it truly began when I took up flute in late 2014. By that definition, I am the least experienced member of the band and require a great deal of practice time to feel prepared for our rehearsals.

I do love it, though, even it means Nerdishly is heavy on photos for a while.


Over the weekend, we saw Boy at TimeLine Theatre (timely, moving, worth your time) and Remy Bumppo’s staged reading of Susan Glaspell’s 1921 play, Inheritors.

From the latter:

SILAS: You took aplenty. Tell in your eyes you’ve thought lots about what’s been thought. And that’s what I was setting out to say. It makes something of men — learning. A house that’s full of books makes a different kind of people. Oh, of course, if the books aren’t there just to show off.

GRANDMOTHER: Like in Mary Baldwin’s new house.

SILAS: (trying hard to see it) It’s not the learning itself—it’s the life that grows up from learning. Learning’s like soil. Like—like fertilizer. Get richer. See more. Feel more. You believe that?

FEJEVARY: Culture should do it.

SILAS: Does in your house. You somehow know how it is for the other fellow more’n we do.

I love that… A house that’s full of books makes a different kind of people.

“You’re standing on a stage…”

From Alexander Maksik’s novel You Deserve Nothing:

p. 87
You always begin the same way. You’re standing on stage, presenting yourself, happy to be back. Which is not to say that you don’t believe in teaching, because you do. There are few things you believe in more and you want to do something good. But along with that comes the wonder of standing before a group of people who love you, who imagine that you are strong and wise.

All that attention, it’s hard to resist. And if you’re honest you acknowledge that before you ever became a teacher you imagined your students’ reverence, your ability to seduce, the stories you’d tell, the wisdom you’d impart. You know that teaching is the combination of theater and love, ego and belief. You know that the subject you teach isn’t nearly as important as how you use it.

p. 169
That’s why the ones who stay are some of the most depressing people you’ve ever met in your life. It has nothing to do with their age. They’ve stayed because of their disposition — bitter, bored, lacking in ambition, lonely, and mildly insane. With few exceptions, these are the people who are capable of staying in a school. This is what it takes to teach for half a life-time. The ones who care, who love the subjects, who love their students, who love, above all, teaching — they rarely hang around.