Thursday, February 05, 2015

Would you let this idiot teach in a university?

Remember the following line from yesterday?
All sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them
The essay noted that it was from "the writer Isak Dinesen."

That's it. The essayist simply assumes that blokes like me would recognize the name Isak Dinesen.

So, of course, I had to Google; what other option did I have!


Do you see why I thought I made a mistake?  I search for Isak Dinsen, and the first in the list is Karen Blixen.  Pseudonym.

The plot was getting thicker.
Blixen is best known for Out of Africa, her account of living in Kenya, and one of her stories, Babette's Feast, both of which have been adapted into highly acclaimed, Academy Award-winning motion pictures. Prior to the release of the first film, she was noted for her Seven Gothic Tales, for which she is also known in Denmark.
Boy don't I feel like a fool!  She is the one from Out of Africa?  The one that I was talking about the other day because my daughter was just at Masai Mara?

I then did a Google search for "Karen Blixen Kenya" and, wait, there are coffee plantations and a gazillion other things with her name?  And all this is the famed Masai Mara part of Kenya?

And, my, what a colorful and rich life she had!
"Isak" was appropriate: Blixen's emergence as a writer was indeed late and unexpected. She had returned to Denmark in 1931, stony broke – her marriage was finished; her African coffee farm had failed; her romantic lover, big-game hunter Denys Finch Hatton, had died in a plane crash. Although she had written much earlier – her first stories were published when she was barely 20 – she'd chosen marriage and Africa over writing; but that life was now finished. At 46, she must have been feeling both desolate and desperate; but also, evidently, boiling with creative energy.
It is amazing how every day is a revelation of how little I know.  I am amazed that they let me teach!  In a university!




2 comments:

Anne in Salem said...

But this makes you the perfect teacher - you recognize there is much still to learn and you are eager to learn as much of it as you can. This keeps you fresher and more engaged than the stale professors who already know everything - and thus more interesting, more relevant, and better qualified to lead young men and women by example.

A quote I learned last week from Gandhi - Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.

Sriram Khé said...

So, if I live to learn, then ... ? ;)

indeed, keeps me alert ... makes sure I don't ever think I have known whatever there is to be known. Am always amazed at teachers who seem convinced that the two things they know really well is all they need to know ...

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