I’ve been reading, but I haven’t been sticking to my loosely defined reading list.  Instead I’ve been tumbling around various anthropology blogs and making lists of things to read.  I’ve been perusing Anthropology Blog Newspaper where they list the title of the blog along with the titles of the most recent posts.  In the process I’m developing my own list of anthropology blogs that I would like to read regularly.

I’ve been reading some French.  Well, put more accurately, I’ve been reading some lists of French words.  I studied French in the past and I’ve returned to study in part as an exercise in brain stimulation.  I’ve been enjoying the free audio lessons at Coffee Break French.     A Scotsman teaches French in 20-minute segments.  Each audio lesson has a page for questions and comments.  They have paid learning materials, but I haven’t tried those.  I have my own collection of French grammar books.

Perhaps I should try to come up with some sort of syllabus.   I’ll look around for some guides on self-study.

My intention is to read anthropology for a year. That’s the basic goal. I’m not an anthropologist; so from time to time, I may write heresy. That’s not to say that I won’t also write things that are just plain wrong. Feel free to proselytize and/or correct. Oh, the clock hasn’t started, yet, as far as counting down that year. I’ll start the clock once I feel that I’ve gotten going properly. I’m sorting and categorizing available reading material — year published, subject, subfield, area of the world…

I’ve started reading, grazing. I’ve been experiencing a lot of mental motion sickness. The reawakening of my literacy is getting in the way of my reading. Paragraphs are once again filled with bedazzled hooks, some dangling overhead, some already underneath the skin — The Lure of the Tangent Line. I’m being yanked and I like it. Yes, I did see the episode of SpongeBob with the hooks (“Hooky“).  My medicated mind had been impervious to hooks and yanking.  I expect discipline and focus to return with practice.

I started reading an article yesterday, “Anthropologist View American Culture” (Ann. Rev. Anthropol. 1983. 12:49-78) and I came across the word “particularistic” on the first page.  Probably I had heard mention of particularism, but it wasn’t readily familiar.  I visited Wikipedia for a quick reference.  I first looked at Historical particularism, an approach in anthropology and then I read Epistemological particularism, an approach in philosophy.   As to the latter:  “Epistemological particularism is the belief that one can know something without knowing how one knows that thing.”  I start thinking about learning, memory and cognitive development.  I remember how as a little girl I could not shake the picture of my great grandfather “driving” a horse and buggy.   My mother, with firm memories of riding in a car with her grandfather, said with bemusement that it wasn’t THAT long ago.  I started thinking of how children view the past, how it’s all a fairly compact wad of once-upon-a-time.   I recently reread Huck Finn.  Huck did remark quick a bit on the concept of time, didn’t he?  Are there similarities across cultures as to how children view time?  Didn’t I come across several articles concerning culture and concepts of time?  Should I scan some of those now?  I very recently started watching episodes of “The L Word“.   In season 2, episode 11, a biracial woman reads Huck Finn to her African-American father as he lies in his hospital bed.  I recognized the passage right away.  Were the writers/producers making a statement about race, language and literature?  Did people comment on this at time?  Should I do a search?  Hmm, I don’t think anyone experiences time linearly no matter how they speak about it.  I should at least scan the titles of the articles about time, shouldn’t I?  Didn’t so-and-so say something interesting about time? The name starts with an “L,” maybe?  I almost got it.

And before I know it, there I am hook-in-lip flapping around on someone’s boat.  I go back to page 1 paragraph 2 of “Anthropologist View American Culture.”   I’m scanning the section headings now… More on this tomorrow.  Yes, set a deadline.

My brain is out at sea during a bad thunderstorm that’s unfolding in slow motion. That’s the feeling I have after ceasing brain-altering medication that I was prescribed for nearly four years. I’m being flooded with information/awareness that had been blocked from my conscious mind and there’s a strong mental motion sickness.

For example, it came to be that when I “read” a piece of writing, I could make no connections with previously read writing. Yes, there is a lot of writing out there that dose not require this ability. However, literacy is more than sounding out and understanding the dictionary definitions of words on a page, but I could do little more than just that. This loss occurred gradually. Now that I am regaining literacy, it’s as if I’ve broken a prolonged fast by eating exceedingly rich chocolate cake.

I am now plotting a course toward “normal” brain function. I find that as I read and write more, the mental motion sickness decreases. While I find that reading literature works best, I think variety of subject and type is also beneficial. My plan includes concentrated reading in anthropology in part due to my passionate interest. I also have readily available anthropology reading material.

My writing here will include my responses to various readings in anthropology along with personal musings, cultural observations, the odd interview (hopefully) and other such. I don’t necessarily feel up to this task, but I figure starting on it will be motivation for doing more and will result in doing better.

So, with course partially plotted, I press ahead. I’m Southern… I like alliteration.