March was the month that the United States decided to seek out the terrorists from the 9-11 bombing in Afghanistan (in 2002); it's now the month that our current administration is struggling to straddle a political land mine with health care reform. If you look back in history, you'll notice that March has been the setting of many less-than-peaceful world events. But March isn't really all that bad...here are a few things to "brighten" your middling-March:
This month, Iron Man & Philosophy hits bookshelves, edited by my colleague, Mark White. My son co-authored a chapter with me about the women in Iron Man's life (which are many...) and the underlying philosophy of the Iron Man himself, Tony Stark--the idea that everyone, by virtue of existing, has a RIGHT TO HAVE RIGHTS. Actually, that political philosophy was first developed by Hannah Arendt, one of the few female philosophers you will find from the mid-twentieth century.
Arendt was a Holocaust survivor. Without telling you anymore about the woman, you can easily see how Dr. Arendt came up with her ideas on the RIGHT TO HAVE RIGHTS. What's truly amazing is that Arendy articulated what seems like a very natural thought--but it was NEVER articulated previous to Arendt. I'd like you to ask yourself why; and while you're at it, ask yourself why a theory articulated in the 1950's is STILL not being applied in the twenty-first century. I ask myself these questions all the time, and I don't like the answers.
If you're curious about Hannah Arendt and what she has to say on the topic, please pick up a copy of Iron Man & Philosophy and read our chapter. And do let me know what you think! It's also a GREAT warm up for the next release of mine, True Blood & Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things With You, hitting shelves at the end of May (newly updated from the original June release!).
Speaking of good books to ride the March-wave into spring, take a look at the latest by Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, about one of the first female patients to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the mid-twentieth century whose cancer still lives in petri dishes...WITHOUT her permission. It's an amazing book that is eye-opening and breath-taking all at once. Rebecca Skloot also writes a regular column for Prevention magazine and is a truly gifted writer (as well as an infinite dog-lover...so she gets an automatic two thumbs up in my book!). Check out more details about the recently released volume on her website: http://rebeccaskloot.com/the-immortal-life/ Skloot's new book is actually in the top 10 books being sold on Amazon--she's #1 in nonfiction. So you know you're in good company if you choose to invest in the book--but even if money is as tight for you as it is for me, reserve the book online from your local library.
So, it's the third month of the new year--how is your writing schedule going? Are you learning one new thing for each new week? I have to admit that my writing schedule faltered a bit in the last few days--but I'm back on track! As for the new thing for the new week, last week, I finished reading Naomi Zack's AMAZING tome, The Handy Philosophy Answer Book (VIP 2009). I learned SO MANY new things from Zack's book! This week, my new thing is more about re-learning how to keep promises to myself. It seems like it's counterintuitive NOT to keep promises to yourself, but I keep falling off my own promise-wagon! I complain about how others treat me--and then, I do the very same thing to myself! Has that ever happened to you, too? So, I will be boxing up my office in preparation for a little renovation. I put off these plans for a year and find myself mired by that decision--I can't work in a work space that lacks doors--especially as a writer--I need to THINK to write and though the dulcet tones of my family's voices (and my dog's bark) are truly music to my ears, I still can't properly focus. There are storage issues, space issues--let's just say if my office had a psyche, Freud would have a veritable field day. SO, my new idea for a new week is to box everything up and prepare for a fresh coat of paint, some improved book shelves (I am an English professor, for crying out loud!), improved file storage (all I can say here is...oy), and hopefully some DOORS. I finally understand Jim Morrison a little bit better, now sharing his keen interest in doors. A door or two could change EVERYTHING. The productivity alone...it's inspiring to think of!
Wish me luck--this new idea for a new week is going to be a challenging one. But if I keep my promise to myself, I am going to reward my efforts with a viewing of the newest Pixar film, How to Train Your Dragon, being released on March 26th--the main character in the film is voiced by Olympic Gold Medalist, Shaun White (and yes, there are some snowboarding-esque scenes in the flick...).
Today's entry is more chatty than my usual philosophical musings. Don't worry--I have a few more substantive thoughts on the tip of my writing tongue, as it were--but that will have to wait for the next time around.
I want to take a moment to thank all my new Facebook Fans and all of you who have been leaving comments or sending me messages. Your support is EVERYTHING to me. I can't say it enough: I'm very, very grateful to ave all of you.