It’s always interesting where thoughts take you. When I started this blog, my plan was to follow my thoughts and, like a good conversation, let them take me where they would. So after 24 entries and the beginning of a new year—September is the true start of the year in education and business, à mon avis—it’s time to look back and see where I’ve been, and then look ahead to see where I might be going.
Fashion, with fun & purpose
I started this blog thinking fashion—my dressup fashion in this era of ultra-casual dressing of sweats and pjs in public—would play a leading role. But I found that fashion lent itself to the frivolity of Instagram, so that’s where I went with selfies of my daily outfits, then just shoes in August, to be followed by whatever category or detail piques my fancy in the coming months. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s a lightweight way of communicating with a small band of followers. But—and you knew there would be a but—it’s so little for the mind (in the words of Hilda Neatby, a University of Saskatchewan history professor whose class I took in the early ‘60s) that the brain atrophies at an alarming rate.
Dressing fashionably is having fun, but being well groomed is de rigueur in the civilized world. It shows self-respect and respect for others: for family members; for friends; for work colleagues; and for everyone else when you’re out and about in the public square. It’s such basic common sense that it astounds me when someone asks me why I dress professionally even in my home office even when I will see no one that day but my husband. There’s a discipline in being well groomed that carries over to your work—making sure the details are attended to and the task is completed on time and on budget.
And I get smiles and compliments everywhere I go, a little lift that helps me navigate the daily ups and downs of life. What’s not to like?
Books, the stuff of life
Books, on the other hand, are the very stuff of life for a reader, and will appear regularly as the subject of my blog. For someone who is an inveterate optimist, I started out on a very negative note with my review of the Neapolitan novels of Elena Ferrante. The effusive praise heaped on the four novels by literary leaders—authors, professors, cultural mavens—had heightened my anticipation of a good story well told. Not too far into the first book, the sheen of its promise started to tarnish because of the usual left bent that passes for deep thinking nowadays. The tarnish continued to darken, but I continued to read, hoping the characters would grow up and reject the left’s false platitudes and appreciate the truth underlying the West’s liberal democracy.
But they didn’t. The two central characters and I share the same birth year and live in the Western world—Elena & Lila in Naples and me in western Canada—but the story told of their life was so distorted that I could emphasize with little of it. They, especially Lila, made stupid choice after stupid choice, and then blamed the consequences on everyone and everything else. They were victims, you see, and that’s the highest value of the cultural left these days. And that’s why praise was heaped on the Neapolitan novels.
(Outrage du jour. As an aside, the outrage du jour is a Penn State history professor’s assertion that the bourgeois virtues of self-restraint, deferred gratification and future orientation underpin the success of our Western world, and the lack thereof is the reason why many are failing in this world. These values are traditionally Anglo-American, but they exclude no one on the basis of race, colour, sexual orientation or any other identity marker that the left is so enamoured of. The tempest rages, but the truth of that assertion stands firm in the face of all the condemnation the various isms can throw at it.)
Entertaining, a pleasure worth the effort
Like dressing elegantly, entertaining elegantly is high on my list of priorities. Planning the party, enjoying the party and then remembering the party are such fun—such work, indeed, but the pleasure pays for the effort, à mon avis. Parties with friends, Christmas with family, dinners with political allies—each has its own flavour, but all must have a joie de vivre that animates guests and hosts alike to create a welcoming, happy atmosphere for everyone in the room.
Or yard as the case may be. Our backyard is a private little oasis in the centre of the city, designed that way because we like to spend a lot of time at home. And the summer of 2017 in Calgary was an outdoor summer if ever there was one, with day after day of hot weather and long, warm evenings inviting you to stay outside and talk the night away. We did just that in mid-August as we plotted our way to building the conservative juggernaut that will bury the NDP in Election 2019.
Yes, I will continue making merry and writing about it in future blogs.
Conservatism, its philosophy and politics
Which brings me to politics and philosophy. In the leftward drift that is swamping our Western world, a conservative has no choice but to take arms against it. Everywhere leftism rears its ugly head, violence and tyranny follow as night follow day:
- 1794 – France
- 1848 – Italy
- 1910 – Mexico
- 1917 – Russia
- 1933 – Germany
- 1937 – Spain
- 1949 – China
- 1060 – Cuba
- 2015 – Venezuela
But this story of violence and tyranny has to be taught over and over, it seems, to each new generation.
How to be a conservative is the philosophical armour against the so-called progressives in the culture wars, with Roger Scruton as my knight in shining armour in this existential struggle. Getting involved in politics is participating in the specific battles to persuade voters conservatism is the better choice. And when my fellow Albertans went a little crazy in May 2015 and elected an NDP government, it became a must to become active in the conservative cause. Notley and her band of merry thieves are amassing debt at an alarming rate while hoping that the price of oil, the product and an industry they detest, will bail them out of their vat of red ink.
Needless to say, conservatism will continue to make a regular appearance in my blog.
My expertise, writing & editing
A subject many of my colleagues thought would be the raison d’être of a blog that is part of a website marketing writing and editing services does make an appearance—a little tardy at #13, but then it cascades through the following four blogs, all of which are posted on my LinkedIn profile. And, of course, reading and literature are intimately connected to writing and editing. Count them up and it means that almost half of the blogs are related—directly or indirectly—to my profession as a writer/editor.
These subjects, too, will continue to appear in my blog—but only interesting, intriguing, even quirky takes on this fascinating field, NOT the usual quick fix to becoming a better writer.
So I will continue to seek to find books worth my reading attention, on some out-of-the-way sites to try to avoid the Amazon behemoth, and then write about what I liked and didn’t like about them; I will continue to entertain and then describe the experience; I will continue to be a conservative and write about its superiority to the left propaganda we are inundated with; and, naturally, I will continue to write about writing and editing from my old-fashioned perspective.