I play a little game with my dead friends. I collect their faces and attach them to my notes on their body of work. The first thing from Wikipedia won't do. I search carefully for a portrait that strikes something inside me. John Singer Sargent said that a portrait is just a picture with something wrong about the mouth. The portraits that I collect are just faces with something right about the eyes. It's the eyes that tell me that we can be friends.
I hereby declare war on all polemics. The kind of person who writes aggressive, sarcastic, negative pieces about other people is so odious to me that I find their presence nauseating. Hit pieces, exposés, hell-fire preaching, complaining blog posts, most existentialism, songs of the rebellious youth, letters sent by Susan to the HOA, all reveal a wicked character. We must vilify such people and all their works in no uncertain terms lest their moral contagion spread to the beautiful and the good (you and me, my dear reader).
I am often required to give students "helpful feedback" on their writing. I mark missing commas or misspelled words in red ink. I circle the occasional awkward phrase. I fear, however, that these marks are really doing the students a disservice. They give the illusion that their bad writing would become good writing if they were to insert the missing commas and fix the spelling mistakes. To become good the whole thing would need to change, and this means a change to the student's deeper habits of life. So here are my four recommendations.
Whittaker Chambers on Writing and Inertia
By simply picking up a pen, things can be done, if we have the will to overcome inertia.
Sertillanges - What I Think
'I read, and I write while reading; but...'
- 2015-08-10 Reading Notes
One Thought Per Note
The advantages of making many small notes with one thought in each.
Sublime Syntax Definition
My own Sublime syntax definition that includes zettlekasten linmks.
My Footnote Plugin
A plugin I wrote for Sublime that makes unique footnote references across multiple files.
The use of being able to place your notes within the chronological stream of your thoughts.