Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What for a regular and orderly life?

I struggle hard whenever I ask myself when it was that I first subscribed to the New Yorker.  For that matter, I don't even recall how I came to know about the magazine.  After all, it was not as if I grew up with my parents as New Yorker fans.  The good thing is that I became a New Yorker fan. A groupie. ;)

During those lean budget years immediately post-divorce,  it felt like I had become my own enemy when I decided to forego the subscription and, instead, relied on the university library for the issues.  As I settled into the life of a divorcé, the lack of money weighed less and less against the missing magazine in the mailbox.  I paid up.  It felt like the fog of life had lifted. Flowers had started blooming.  My intellectual life started perking up again.

The latest issue has a lengthy profile feature on Julianne Moore.  The people profiled there, or the way it is written, always have interesting things to offer.  Here, the brainy Moore notes this, which fascinates me:
Moore is fond of quoting Flaubert’s dictum “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” And she insists on that regularity. “I’m incredibly bourgeois,” she said. “And I don’t care. I’m not wild. There’s nothing outrageous about me. I’m really a pretty nice person. I am not erratic in my behavior. You know the kind of people who are really irregular—they keep people off balance that way. I’m not that kind of person.”
That is an example of why the magazine draws me week after week, as it has for years now.  Until I read that essay, I had no idea about Gustav Flaubert's awesome advice to "be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work."  I will add this to the other Flaubert advice, which was apparently his practice.  If the sentences that he had crafted did not sound right when he read them out as he walked the streets of Paris, Flaubert decided that he had to rework them.  Ever since I read about that nearly two decades ago, I have always read aloud the op-ed essays before I sent them off to the editors.  I even recommend that approach to students--but then, when did students ever listen to what I have to say! ;)

I don't think Flaubert meant "violent" as in punching the daylights out of a human.  It is to be bold in one's work and not worry about rocking the boat.  Or, maybe I am interpreting Flaubert because it suits my existence?  I lead a boringly regular and orderly life.  Weekday or weekend, I go to bed about the same time and wake up about the same time.  The waking hours in between, well, it is no James Bond life!  A boringly regular and orderly life that seemingly prepares me for the exciting intellectual life of truth-seeking that I so cherish living.

Painted Hills: one of the many natural wonders here in Oregon
I went there and clicked this photo in my regularly and ordered life ;)


Ramesh said...

You really are a strange guy !! Somebody says get up at 6.13 AM and have a cup of coffee every day, so that when you get to class you can yell YAHOO( violent and original) at an orangutan. This is fascinating ???????

Of all the reasons to recommend The New Yorker, this must be the strangest !!

By the way, if you want to spice up your everyday life, try the following

- Post on whether Mia Khalifa should join Big Boss
- Tickle Arnab Goswami's nose when he is in full flow
- Tell Xi Jinping, when you meet him at the White House that he is an ass.
- Subscribe to the Daily Star newspaper of the UK and begin your mornings reading it
- Perhaps to the accompaniment of a glass of soylent :):)


Sriram Khé said...

Hehehehe ;)
I have no idea who Mia Khalifa is, and what Big Boss is about.
I have heard the name Arnab Goswami but am clueless otherwise.
I would love to tell Xi that, but I need to score an invitation first--ain't gonna happen in this boring life!
Is Daily Star one of those British tabloids, with a daily photo of a nude or something?
Better dead than drink Soylent!

PS: you are being unfair when you refer to some people at my work as orangutans. Unfair to the orangutans, that is ;)

PPS: it is 5:43 am, not 6:13!!!

Anne in Salem said...

My kids would say I have orderly and regular down to a science and would say I need to be more spontaneous. Of course, they don't realize just how much they help me be spontaneous, or at least less rigid.

Given the financial aspects of my job, particularly the tax and other government reports, I am not so sure my boss would appreciate my being violent and original. It is one reason the job fits me so well. I have been known to have a creative thought on occasion, but I try to restrict it to problem-solving not the profit and loss. Perhaps there is another application for me, like gardening or cooking. Those seem more suitable for creativity.

Sriram Khé said...

No wonder you don't work for Volkswagen, where people have been highly creative, as recent news reports clearly point out ;) I don't suppose they live a "regular and orderly life" hehehehe ;)

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