Keep learning


As SD the Firewall always says, “Every day’s a school day.”

I love that life hands you a whole lot of weird and random stuff to learn from and how it all interconnects in strange ways and leads to the strangest conversations. And the act – and art – of listening, conversing and being open to everything is free. And anything else is a form of arrogance. And comes at a high cost.

Sometimes what you learn is not that useful, such as learning about the existence of some weird 1980s British TV show called Auf Wiedersehen, Pet or a British cartoon called Roobarb (about a dog called Roobarb and a cat named Custard), which made me think of the Strawberry Shortcake dolls of my youth (there was a monkey called Rhubarb and a cat named Custard among those characters). Reading about Congo recently, I obviously learned about the history of Congo but it led me in a lot of different directions, from reading about the Scot, John Boyd Dunlop, who re-invented pneumatic rubber tires in 1888-89 (which led to a rubber boom and a certain kind of enslavement for Congolese citizens, despite there being no formal slavery at that time) to powerful Congolese uranium to Hutu/Tutsi conflict. In a completely different direction, I’ve learned a lot about William Blake the last two days. Then moved right along where I learned a lot about famous shy people and forms of shyness and its roots (read Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness yesterday).

At the same time, I also shared a lot of information about the Slavs (i.e. informing the aforementioned SD that the term “Slavs” refers to all Slavic people, not just former Yugoslavs).


Something else to learn – especially for people who are particularly arrogant – is that there is always something to learn and advice to take. I have met a couple of highly productive but extremely idiosyncratic writers. They invite you to read their writing, professionally or casually, but then cannot deal with the response or hack the editing or proofreading that inevitably follows. One writer was irrationally angry that my mother corrected his spelling – he tried to write ‘brassiere’ but had written ‘brazier’ (haha). Then another writer whose book had some riveting passages and fascinating ideas clearly must not have submitted his book for any editing or advice or even a cursory pass through spellcheck (a couple of references to “Saskwatch” rather than “Sasquatch”. And it was not about some provincial Saskatchewan amateur police force called Sask Watch) before publication.

Yes, every writer needs an editor. Period. Taking sage and experienced advice is a learning experience. Period.

What are we here for other than to learn?

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