• Tag Archives Latin
  • Habitual

    Spring                                          Mountain Spring Moon

    New morning habit in process of forming. I’m going to protect the time from 5:45-11:00 am for work with timeout for breakfast. After long experience, I know that I don’t do well if my work times get interrupted. This means I’ll need to make appointments for the afternoons in the future. Yes, this potentially interferes with my workout regimen, which begins at 4:00 pm each day. And, yes, it could disrupt my nap, but I think the advantages outweigh the hassles.

    It also means I’ll not be posting here until mid-day, nor will I check e-mails, do other kinds of work on the computer until the afternoon or evening.

    What will I be doing in those morning hours? Latin. Moving forward with my translation of Book VII which I plan to be my first complete book translated. There are 15. Writing. I’ll be working on Superior Wolf, writing and researching.

    It’s odd, but the sunny disposition of Colorado really leans toward the outdoors, not like the cold and gloomy winters and early springs in Minnesota, where staying inside just made sense. This focus on mornings spent with the mind will have outside interference. I’ll have to focus harder on getting in hikes, plant identification, exploration in the time I have available.

    I’ve been taken over the last few weeks with an idea from the Baghavad Gita, action with out attachment to the results. In the Gita this notion prunes karma, since it is the entrapment of desire that bends karma one way or the other. With no focus on the result the action cannot produce bad karma. This is not the way I see it though I understand this more orthodox approach.

    Instead I find the idea of action without attachment to the result as a way to cut the final cord tying me to the bourgeois desire for achievement. It was this strain of thinking that cut across my cerebral cortex when living large popped up. In other words I learn Latin with no final end in mind. Being an amateur classicist is what I will do, defining the realm in which I will act. Just so the writing. Writing novels, being a writer is what I will do, what I have done. But the results of that action? Not important. Grandparenting. Gardening. Bee keeping. All the same.

    So creating the atmosphere in which I can act is critical. Creating an atmosphere in which I succeed, not so much so.

  • Go, Santorum

    Imbolc                                      Garden Planning Moon

    Hey, how about that Santorum?  Way to mix it up.  The longer the Republicans savage each other and the longer the nomination drags out without a clear victor the better.  If the  economy can right itself a bit more, unemployment come down and consumer spending go up (think those two are related?) the Democrats might look better in the fall.

    I’m working right here at home, filling up my day and working out at twilight, then reading.  A couple of tours tomorrow and I’m looking forward to them right now because I’ve been writing and doing Latin for 5 days in a row with a bit of a break on Monday.  The productivity feels great, but a change of pace will be welcome.

    Grandson Gabe has a bad cold or croup or something respiratory.  Grandma Kate got a chance to pass on some knowledge to Jon and Jen last night.  She’s a good one to have your corner if you have a kid.


  • A New Way to Translate

    Winter                                          First Moon of the New Year

    May have found a new method for working on the latin.  Translate it as well as I can, let it sit, then come back to it and go over it to produce an idiomatic translation.  Going back over it and checking word choices forces me to make finer grained decisions among meanings, catch  errors in reading verb tenses and create a better, smoother work.

    Up to this point I’ve done step 1, translate as well as I can, then I’ve left it until Friday to go over with Greg.  This may be a mistake, really only part way there.  Gonna try this new way for the next couple of weeks, though I travel next week to Denver and Greg the week after that Portugal, so we won’t be back together until the 28th.



  • How the New Year Might Look

    Winter                                           First Moon of the New Year

    At an inflection point with the Latin.  Either I keep the pace I currently follow, maybe 6 hours a week; or, I ramp up, say to 10 or 12, maybe a couple of hours each day.  Some analysis of other texts–maybe Caesar or Suetonius or Julian, I have all of these in Loeb Library volumes–plus more translating of the Metamorphoses.  My inclination is to ramp up, do more, focus on Latin and the novel.  That’s what my heart tells me.

    That other project, too.  The one I’ve got slotted for 5,000 word essays each month next year.  Where I’m going to give voice to my whirling ideas about the earth, about ge-ology, about what would help us help our home planet.  That one, too.

    When you add these things together, they constitute real work and I feel good about that, not trapped or bummed.  Now all I need is a way of allocating my time so I can work them all in and still manage the art, the garden, the bees and family.

    That may be my new year’s work.  Pruning activities and creating a new schedule.



  • Ovid. Again.

    Winter                              First Moon of the New Year

    An Ovidian morning.  Holding words, conjugations, meanings, clause types, prepositions and adverbs in the head while whirling them around like a Waring blender.  It’s satisfying when a sentence finally pops up, like a good smoothie.  Not always a straight on logical process, though logic can critique the result.

    About ten verses a week now.  Takes, hmmm, 4-6 hours.  So, if there are 15,000 verses, that’s 1,500 weeks or 6 to 9,000 hours.  Which is, what?  3 to 4.5 working years full-time or 30 years a week at a time, taking some time off for vacation.  Mmmm.  Don’t look for that book jacket anytime soon.


  • An Old Draft Horse, Trained To The Plow

    Samain                                          Moon of the Winter Solstice

    My first Latin day since before the cruise.  Today and probably next week, too, I’ll be getting myself back in the spirit and form of translating Ovid, refreshing vocabulary, looking at translations past and checking on the translations Greg and I have not gone through yet, refreshing my memory about what I did in those translations, that sort of thing.

    Getting back to my novel has become another force in my life right now.  I intend to start carving out time this week and next, getting a regular schedule going again.

    The urge to act, have agency, as I wrote here before, is still strong, young Jedi.  When the Republican debates occur, when the Rick Perrys and the Michele Bachmanns and the Nude Gingrichs start to yap, my blood begins to boil.  When Obama starts echoing the arguments of the Occupy crowd, a certain part of me, instinctive almost, wants to take up the message, too, remind this country that class discrimination comes before and reinforces every other form of discrimination.

    At the Christmas Tea the other night I talked with Scott Searles, the minister at Shepherd of the Hills.  He’s got some work going in Hopkins, 65% rental!  Three buildings there, one with East Indians, one with Somalis and the other with Latinos.  The city has an interest in greater stability, more home ownership.  Made this ol’ affordable housing activist lean into his bit.

    But, when he asked me if I wanted to come advise, I said no.  I felt guilty.  That’s the draft horse in me, trained to the plow.  If I can contribute, I should contribute.   Still, my current work load with home, the MIA, the Sierra Club and the novel is full.  I need to be honest about that.

    It did give me an idea though.  There was no internet, no e-mail, no cell phones when I worked for the Presbytery, but there are all three now.  In a minute, in casual conversation Scott had two new resources:  MICAH (Metropolitan Interfaith Coalition for Affordable Housing) and Common Bond, the Catholic housing arm.

    A resource website for congregations and other activists, one that would list current organizations active in certain key areas:  affordable housing, health care, economic justice, environmental advocacy, say, could be used by many and it’s something I could put together and maintain.  That way, I could get my expertise out there and make it available to others without getting involved in round after round of meetings and phone calls.

    Worth pondering.

  • Zealots

    Lughnasa                                            Waning Harvest Moon

    More time today on Ovid.  Working on Book III:570-574.  This chunk, starting at 509 and running through 579, introduces the story of Pentheus, a cautionary tale about religious zealots.  Pentheus criticizes the seer Tiresias as an alarmist and disses the God Bacchus and his Bacchante as driven by potent drink, irrational, anti-military and decidedly non-Roman.  Later in the story Pentheus will be torn apart by his mother and her fellow maenads in a fit of religious frenzy.

    This story warn us to understand religious zealotry as a serious political force and one often prone to violence.

    I can feel my Latin muscles growing, a slow process, fed by numerous encounters with various words, sentence constructions, parts of speech.


  • Text, Reader, Learning

    Lughnasa                                                                              Waning Honey Extraction Moon

    Been feelin’ tired, a bit lowdown.  Got a good nap this afternoon and better.

    Latin today was a bit more encouraging than I had anticipated.  My translation was not so far off, I hadn’t pursued sentence and clause construction quite as diligently as would have been good, but I had the right idea, for the most part.  I now see another level to this translation process and that is the one where I set off on my own, with no expectation that a tutor will read it.  Instead, I will rely on my own knowledge and skill.  That day is off a ways, but no where near so far as it was a year ago March when I began this journey.

    Greg and I had a conversation today about the classics, about language and books and translation and interpretation.  Exegesis and hermeneutics.  This is turf  I know well from my days in Sem.  I persist in believing that there is a history and an author to which texts refer and are bound.  Surprisingly, this belief is not widely shared among academics in literary fields.  They’ve ridden off on the horse of post-modernism, headed, with speed, down what Francis Bacon would have called the wrong path, a path not unlike the Scholastics, where all knowledge happens within a field of words and all conclusions come from deductive reasoning.

    Bacon said traveling down the wrong path will not lead your toward your destination and traveling faster down that path only leads you further and further away.

  • In a Deep Hole

    Lughnasa                                                                 Waning Honey Extraction Moon

    And here I thought things were going well.  My translation this morning was far, far off the mark.  It was, Greg said, a combination of things.  I don’t know the story.  The poetry makes difficult constructions even more difficult to suss out and there were points of grammar here I hadn’t studied.  Still.  I felt like I had been wading at least in the muck, a marsh maybe, but this morning I dropped into a deep Latin hole.

    Sigh.  Even though I know the only solution is to swim back to the surface and try to find the muck, at least, it was disheartening.  No wonder I couldn’t find any entries for the commentary.

    Of course, I didn’t start down this ancient trail because I thought the journey would be easy.  And, I was right.

  • A Latinate Day

    Lughnasa                                                                     Waning Honey Extraction Moon

    A Latinate day.  The am found me back in Pentheus, a story in the third book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  I remember the story from the English version, at least in part.  Pentheus gets torn apart by his mother and her fellow Bacchantes while they are in the grip of a Dionysian frenzy.  As I’ve been translating this story, it’s clear that Pentheus is a tragic figure from Ovid’s perspective, a man’s man faced with hordes of soft, sweet smelling boys worshiping a God of irrational behavior.  Romans were not much into ecstasy unless it involved warfare or the circus.

    They were orthopraxic in their religious views, at least most Romans were, that is, they believed that right rituals performed at the right time for the appropriate deity trumped everything else.

    I have begun, in a modest way, work on the commentary.  I set up some files in Notes but made no entries.  It’s difficult for me, right now, to know what makes sense, but I’ll figure it out.

    My next hurdle is to translate the Latin into idiomatic English.  Sometimes I can get there, often not.  To do that I need to have a solid understanding of the grammar–not yet–and a feel for how the Latin makes its meaning, not there either.  At least I’m no longer staring at the words on the page as if they were hieroglyphics.