Summer flows

6 am/5:32, 73/94. Nice long Dads Day solstice, treated by the family to lunch at M.L. Rose, a beautiful hand-crafted tribute from Younger Daughter, and just a bit more general deference than usual. A holiday filled with light, love, and kindness, officially launching summertime. A good day.

Went for a morning bikeride on the literal other side of the tracks, past Al Gore’s place. Later joined Older Daughter in her continuing  binge-watch of 30 Rock, and there he was. Season Two, I think. Pitching for the planet, as always.

The difficult thing about summer is, it’s the season when serious thinking is generally thought to go on holiday. The season for beach reading. But also the season when I always promise myself I’ll get serious and write that book. So for me it’s a cross-purposes sort of season, presenting the challenge of doing serious work in a playful season, writing easily and breezily of difficult things. It’s a dialectical season. (Hey S: were Hegel and Marx peripatetic at all?)

The trick, I think, is to get so caught up in the flow of the work that it, well, flows (in the Csikszentmihalyi sense of the word.) Summertime, so languid and lazy, can also be a time of transcendent achievement. Can’t it? That’s my goal this summer: be like Darwin, so absorbed in his sandwalks and the ideas they churned up that he had to count stones to stay in touch with normal time.

So, how to make time flow: a question to walk with. And another, posed by Nigel Warburton @philosophybites: “Is it a coincidence that many great philosophers loved walking?” It is not. But why not? Flow’s got something to do with it. Maybe everything.

And flow has something to do with good writing too. Oliver Sacks, via Maria, is onto this.

“The act of writing is an integral part of my mental life; ideas emerge, are shaped, in the act of writing… a special, indispensable form of talking to myself.”

It’s a lot easier to flow, I think, when you’re not standing silent and still.

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