This is not a book. Not in some esoteric sense as for Jacques Derrida; it simply isn’t a book. Books have patience…and care. They are worked out as a whole before being bound and published. What I am doing here comes with limited patience. It does have depth of care and concern, but it does not have the longitudinal care of a book. Deep not broad. And at this point in my life, this is a good way to write. It is freer and laden with the emotions of the moment. Much like the poetry I wrote in youth, it will be embarrassing at moments, but it will be me and not as much the personas I have created over the years as a “professional philosopher and academic”: the persona of “Dr. Anderson” and the signatory of “Douglas R. Anderson.” Much like cutting my hair and wearing chinos and a tie and jacket, those personas were distractions — a semblance, a show. I feel much better and much more myself as “Moose.” A kid who grew up in small towns, who loved to climb trees and sit in swamps, who lived to play every sport that came my way – to play and try to win in only fair ways. A kid who later worked on a dairy farm, in saw mills, and in tanneries. One who became an apprentice plumber and a hippie. One who hunted and fished and grew things in the ground. One who learned to play blues harmonica on the edge of a New Hampshire lake on crispy spring mornings under the roots of a tremendous white pine. A kid who went to prep school on “scholarship” to play football and hockey (and baseball) and learned Latin, literature, and history (and some math). Learning – always learning – I never thought of reading and writing as work. I enjoyed it. I read and listened to music and to baseball games late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping.
That Moose. Of course, we are always presenting ourselves in selective and chosen ways, so whatever I write will be partly mythical and no doubt I will still hide things from readers (and myself). But the myths of Moose will be mine and not forced on me by social norms and structures. The philosophy of Moose will be honest at least in that much.
And whatever I write will be addressed to you and to me. You, my reader(s), may be one or many. I have played music for one drinker and one bartender at a bar in Pennsylvania. And I have played to several thousand at a winery in Illinois — but I sang from my heart in both cases. I cannot — literally cannot — worry about whether anyone is listening. To do so would be to lose my balance…and I do not wish to lose my balance. At this time in life, I simply wish to be “Moose writing” — or singing or shuffling on paths in oak forests. I simply wish to write of memory and possibility, pasts and futures, Moose-wise, as it were. That will require somewhere a story of “becoming Moose.” Of finding out that I loved what the Greeks called “philosophy.” Of learning how to use my body for the most wonderful physical activities, and how to write songs and play and sing them. But the Moose stories will have to unfold along the way…as I feel their presence and insistence. Only then. For now, welcome to the philosophy of Moose.
2 thoughts on “This is Not a Book”
It’s good to hear your voice, my friend.
I don’t know if you mean this blog to be a monologue, or if you’re interested in dialogue, but I’ll give it a shot and see if you respond.
The think I find most interesting in this introduction is your shedding of the Dr Anderson/Douglas R person in favor of Moose. “Moose” is also a persona, yes? Is it a more “authentic” persona? (Are you willing to open that can of worms? [What makes something more authentic?]) More authentic than your “given” name?
The other thing I find intriguing, and wonderful, in this introduction to your philosophy, is the emphasis on the (your) body. I’m curious where that will take you.
All the best to you. I look forward to “following” this story.
Hey Steve, Wonderful to hear from you. Yep, “Moose” is a chosen name (though one given to me by friends many years ago). I don’t know about authenticity, but it feels more appropriate than my given name–still, we can all be quite self-deceptive and I remain aware of that. Having grown up as an athlete (jock was the old phrase), bodily movement has always been important to me and remains so. When I started working with kinesiology folks years ago at Penn State, I came to realize the experiential/philosophical import of that part of my being. In “philosophy of sport” much is written about the philosophical side of movement, play, etc.–in other words, why philosophy is important to sport. Last year I wrote a piece about why my running, basketball, etc have been important in enabling and allowing me to think. Two way street I suspect. I haven’t considered much the “body/identity” that have been around for the last twenty years, but I suspect I would endorse much of it. We are animals after all! Hope things are well with you.