I’ve been uncharacteristically silent this last week or two. Sorry about that. I’ve just signed my first publishing contract, and I’ve been trying to get into a very focused work schedule. That, and I’ve had a ton of little administrative things to do– bills to pay, insurance claims to make, contracts to review and sign– and they’ve absorbed a lot of my time.
Oh. Did the lede get lost in the shuffle? I’M WRITING A BOOK! It’s not Stupid Philosophy 101, but it is nonfiction. The Practical Guide for Librarians is a successful series from Rowman and Littlefield, and I’m proud to be writing their guide to comics and comics programming. Which is to say, it’s about how to buy comics, get rid of comics, choose comics, preserve comics, and find comics worth choosing for a library collection. On the programming side, there’s making comics in the library, book talks, reaching out to local comics creators– trust me, if you’re in America, someone nearby is drawing comics– and how to throw a comic con in your library. I’m more than 10 heavily-edited pages in so far, and feeling great!
Also, while I don’t want to share the Fake News link, a spammer sent me the best of bad comments, filled with delicious irony! Here ya go:
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Humans live better lives with purpose than without. My purpose here is to share my thoughts on humanity, morality, and art while simultaneously reminding myself that arrogance is everyone’s problem. So yes, I have strong opinions. I also can maybe remember that my opinions are not the Word of God. The Grunt of my Personal Demiurge, maybe.
I’m not a philosopher by training. I have an MA in English Literature, which means I have studied the big Western philosophers. I wasn’t particularly good at it– I was too busy disagreeing with people like Nietzsche to listen to him– but the ideas aren’t alien to me either.
My Masters in Library Science carries a kind of philosophy with it; it’s less formal but it involves bibliophilia, freedom of knowledge, and the power of organization and information.
My knowledge of Eastern philosophy is more hobby-based. I’ve studied and practiced Southern Chinese kung fu and Tai Ch’i since I was twelve– more than 30 years. Semi-mystical kung fu styles come with their own philosophy lessons and reading lists, and I have an undergraduate’s/Hong Kong movie buff’s understanding of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Shintoism on top of that. My sifu (kung fu master) is an ordained Mohel and not shy about his roots; it’s safe to say some Hebrew philosophy crept in as well.
I’m Christian in a low-level, let’s-not-scream-at-people way; I’ve read my share of Christian philosophers (and heretics) as well. Who doesn’t like C.S. Lewis? Fantasy villains and rhetorical straw men, that’s who! Weirdos like Philip K. Dick got me interested in Gnosticism; Grant Morrison keeps me thinking about post-modern morality while enjoying the idea of chaos magic; Derrida is funnier than he gets credit for. I managed to make it more than halfway through Davidson’s Dictionary of Angels — the history of angelology is eye-opening– but I finished Briggs’ Encyclopedia of Fairies, the only reference text I’ve read cover-to-cover.
Philosophy’s more my hobby horse than my wheelhouse. But I have a lot of words that’ll probably tell you more about me than the world outside of Plato’s cave. Plus I like to talk about comic books and cartoons, so I’ll probably do that a lot.