Hello all, I am in the process of planning out my time and commitment to run reading groups to begin in the new year. Several that have been discussed are priorities for me, and I plan to put some of these in motion.
- Plenum discussion and reading group
This is an idea that has been put forward by @Douggins which I think could be a very productive ‘experiment’ not just for myself but potentially for others in the future. The idea is to form a reading group around my novel ‘Plenum : The First Book of Deo’ which I have submitted to Metapsychosis for publication. We are not currently well set up to provide detailed editorial feedback about book-length manuscripts (not enough ‘editors’) - the ones we have are already largely maxed out on managing shorter pieces for Metapsychosis. We also have a writer’s group, but this seems to work for critiquing shorter excerpts and not so much for a full book. So we are looking for alternative ways of providing feedback for book length manuscripts. My book has already been vetted by an outside (freelance) editor, so it is not a ‘virgin’ manuscript, but it needs a kind of “alpha reading” exercise. Doug proposed that we deal with this as a reading exercise via a reading group, and I think that is a great suggestion - several people expressed interest (@marythaler, @Kiss, @hfester… ?) So I am proposing to set up such a group in January. I have drafted a quick list of potential participants and these include folk in Europe as well as the West Coast, so I am thinking that a time slot 12 noon to 2 p.m. EDT may be a good time to do it - this will be 6 p.m for Europeans and 9 a.m. for West Coasters. Tentatively I am looking at Wednesday or Thursday, but am open to other suggestions. I am expecting that the group would run over something like eight weeks (four to five chapters a week, roughly) - compared to other reading groups we’ve done this is quite slow but the pace would allow discussion of alternative writing possibilities as well as the reading feedback directly. It is a suggestion, but we could do it faster than this if we choose as a group to do so.
- Bateson Reading Group
This is an idea we have been talking about for about eight months, and I’d like to move it into play. The idea is to read, in parallel, Gregory Bateson’s “Steps to an Ecology of Mind”(STEM) and his daughter Nora Bateson’s recent book “Small Arcs of Larger Circles” (SALC) - something like one chapter of one (GB) interspersed with two chapters of the other (NB) so the two books could ‘speak to each other’. STEM is a challenging book which has, however, some gorgeous pieces within it (including his wonderful metalogues), SALC is an easier read but draws heavily on GB’s ideas. I will propose a schedule for the reading shortly. Potential participants include the Colorado group (Marco @madrush et al.), Johnny (@johnnydavis54), Ed maybe? ), Cora might be interested (@Coralee) and I have contacted the International Bateson Institute about a potential introductory session (Sweden), so time-wise I am thinking about 11 a.m. EDT to 1 p.m. The day of the week would also be Wednesday or Thursday, depending. I see this group as running until the summer - there are 26 chapters in STEM and 53 in SALC, so this kind of works. We could do one STEM chapter one week and two SALC chapters every second week.
- I would also like to continue the Sri Aurobindo effort with a group reading of Savitri. The idea we discussed in the final Divine Life Aurobindo session would be to read the book aloud on alternative weeks, and discuss the readings and bring in related material (e.g. comparisons with Milton’s Paradise Lost and other relevant material) on the intervening weeks. There are roughly 50 cantos. We could aim to read two cantos each reading session. If we want to go faster, we could always choose to do that. For Savitri, I have in mind a late afternoon session so that our Europeans who would like to participate can do so without having to be up in the wee hours of the morning. So a time slot such as 3 to 5 p.m. EDT. This will mean things can be finished by 11 p.m. in Germany (@MarcoM, @justcallmetony, Ed? ) , and mountain time folk will be on early afternoon (@madrush, @Matteo ?). For day of the week… Friday? I suppose it could be Wednesday, after the earlier session (see above). I’m trying to stay clear of Tuesday because of the Cafe sessions…
A show of hands for any of the above groups would be great, just to get an idea who might participate. I plan to get these groups underway by mid January - likely the Plenum and Savatri in the second week of January and the Bateson group in the 3rd week of January.