Friday, January 13, 2017

Publish and Perish

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Ted McCormick
January 8, 2017

My grandfather was born in 1909. Too young for the First World War and too old for the Second, he served in the U.S. Navy between the two. He finished eighth grade before leaving to work, returning to school — through correspondence courses — only in the 1950s. I remember him, though, as an old man prone to quoting Scripture and Shakespeare and singing lines of Handel’s Messiah (interspersed with saltier fare). His brushes with institutional education notwithstanding, he always struck me as self-taught in a way that is now difficult to fathom.
What I remember about him best are his things: his trumpet, with a mute that fascinated me; his tools, including, exotically, a glass cutter and some beekeeping gear; the decorations of his and my grandmother’s small-town New England house — an old wooden relief of an eagle, a framed map of Connecticut. When he died, I inherited — or chose to take — two of these things. One was a worn-looking hammer I still use. The other was a small, lined, leatherette notebook, the first page of which bears the penciled heading, "Thought for the day."
Right under that line is the first and last entry in the notebook: "Nothing so far."
Read More…