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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Monday, July 07, 2008

My "Commonplace Book"


I've been trying to clear out a storage unit I have had ever since I moved out of my apartment into Cat's house. (I sorta married into property.)

Anyone who has tried to merge two households together knows what problems this often creates. So I have had a storage unit at a local U-Haul place that has been costing me monthly rent for the past 6 years. Every summer I have pledged to get in there to clear out, throw away, donate or keep what I find.

In some ways, it's like Christmas in July. I'm discovering a lot of stuff that I thought I had lost: books, pictures, furniture, and a lot of junk.

One thing I came across was a "Commonplace Book" I started way back in the 80's. This was a little brown pocket journal that I used to write down thoughts, quotes and information that I discovered in my reading and studies. (I was a graduate student for nearly all of the 1980s.)

Here are some of the items I wrote down in the book:

A library is a sort of ammunition dump of unexploded arguments ready to burst forth the moment a live reader opens a book.--Jacques Barzum and Henry F. Graff, The Modern Researcher

The ability to remain independent is God's greatest weapon against evil.--Personal Thought

Ignorance is the night of the mind.--African Proverb

He that goeth about to persuade the multitude that they are not so well governed as they ought to be, shall never want attentive and favorable hearers.--Richard Hooker

Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.--Isaiah 5:8 [This is a warning for our time!

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