This week I stayed healthy, started class with a new student, and went to my first salsa lesson. Isa and I liked the salsa class so much that we’re probably going to go every Tuesday and Thursday starting next week. Hopefully we’ll make real progress before too long. I like to think I made a little progress even in one class. Isa did. (Once more, I’ll mention how much I love our new neighborhood. The dance studio is three blocks from us.)
I’m almost done with the Oppenheimer biography, and I’m very excited about the next book I plan to listen to, The Looming Tower. I also just finished reading Ali and Nino: A Love Story, a wonderful book I got from my cousin for Christmas. In the book’s afterword, Paul Theroux puts into better words than I can what I loved most about it:
Ali and Nino is both a love story and a cultural artifact, and part of its message is that governments rise and fall, wars rage, cities are laid to waste, people are displaced, authors die. What remains? Well, written words remain, and perhaps it is of little consequence who wrote them. After all, Ali and Nino‘s achievement is a bravura display of passionate ethnography, of life lived in a particular area. … At the end of Ali and Nino the reader knows an enormous amount about the region and its people, its complex history, its customs and beliefs. You know about camels; harems; the interior of the Muslim household; local legends and myths; mealtimes and proprieties; the place of women; the duties of the warrior; the japes and pieties associated with the wedding night; the ambiguities of religion, not just Christian and Muslim, but subtler differences—Greek Orthodox Christians, Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and a Bahai believer thrown in for good measure
And though it may seem I’m just floating by in a blissful existence of reading, dance, and pools, I’ve remained hard at work. On top of my ongoing teaching work, I’ve begun thinking long-term and entrepreneurially. I have a few projects in mind, ranging in ambition and feasibility. These are mostly unrelated my current work, though one idea trades on my editing skills, which I’ve used some recently in my professional life. I’ll share more specific details if and when any become developed enough to be introduced to the internet world. One project is almost at that stage: it should be off the ground within a few weeks or a month, so I hope to be able to share news of its launch soon.