Faith in a Time of Doubt and Uncertainty

Here's another recent story about Montaigne in the age of the Coronavirus. The writer in this case is teaching a Zoom-based seminar on Montaigne, which would obviously appeal to me greatly. This is a mostly Christian-centric examination of Montaigne. One of the great things about the essays how many different ways Montaigne can be examined. … Continue reading Faith in a Time of Doubt and Uncertainty

Kindred Spirits: Other Writers Seeking Montaigne’s Wisdom Now

Good to see that others are following my call to turn towards Montaigne in this period of social isolation. Irish Times writer Lucy Sweeney Byrne last week recommended Montaigne’s On Solitude as a short piece that extols “the merits of being alone.” Last month, Aeon published a thoughtful piece by Dorian Alston, also about On Solitude. … Continue reading Kindred Spirits: Other Writers Seeking Montaigne’s Wisdom Now

Summing Up: Anything Left to Say?

Before I begin, a hat tip is in order to one of my readers for pointing a recent story in Wired from Virginia Heffernan that quotes Montaigne. Finding Montaigne stories in the wild and commenting on them isn't a bad future use for this blog, so I thank the reader for pointing it out and encourage … Continue reading Summing Up: Anything Left to Say?

Curiosity: Did it Actually Kill the Cat?

Very few contemporary people would consider curiosity a vice. In fact, it's considered a critical virtue. You want to hire people with curiosity for people and ideas. You want friends curious about your interests. You want a partner curious not only about your actions, but what you are thinking and where you want to go … Continue reading Curiosity: Did it Actually Kill the Cat?

Gatherings: Why Hannah And Her Sisters Shouldn’t Be Cancelled

I'm taking another day break from Montaigne, which might become a more frequent occurrence now as I transition from riffing off of his work to writing personal essays in his style, without his words. Today is a holiday and therefore a day for gatherings, and I know most people aren't having them today. But the … Continue reading Gatherings: Why Hannah And Her Sisters Shouldn’t Be Cancelled

Beginnings: How do We Start Over?

Starting over is on my mind these days, because someday we will return to the world again and it will look different. I can already see it in the faces of people when I need to shop. The curiosity about others is fading, replaced with fear. What harm could you bring me? How much distance … Continue reading Beginnings: How do We Start Over?

Debate: Arguing with Montaigne About Anger

I’m just in a mood today, and I don’t care who knows. So I’m going to pick a fight with Montaigne on the subject of anger. I’ll let Michel go first: Consider how even in vain and trivial pursuits such as chess or tennis matches, the keen and burning involvement of a rash desire at … Continue reading Debate: Arguing with Montaigne About Anger

Conversation: Is There Any Point In Talking If Your Mind Cannot Change?

I've missed nothing more in the last month than having conversations. And by that, I don't just mean the deep meaningful ones, I also count the two minute chat at the counter as I order coffee or the five minutes with a trainer before a gym class begins. I used to disdain these encounters as … Continue reading Conversation: Is There Any Point In Talking If Your Mind Cannot Change?

Diversions: What to Do When They Disappear?

Montaigne was a strong believer in taking indirect routes to pain management, both physical and mental. Kidney stones plagued him most of his adult life and he had numerous (quack?) remedies for diverting his attention from them. I actually shouldn't be so quick to dismiss. For roughly six years, I was on the medication Lexapro … Continue reading Diversions: What to Do When They Disappear?

Monday Malaise: Montaigne on Love and Madness

The stats tell me that no one reads my blog on Mondays, which makes this the perfect opportunity to drop an essay about sex while no one is looking. Montaigne was considered a groundbreaking writer on the subject, one who introduced many risqué subjects into French literature long before it became synonymous with bawdiness.  His … Continue reading Monday Malaise: Montaigne on Love and Madness