Monday, May 18

I bought some books the other weekend. Went into The Book Cellar in Louisville and was about to check out with just The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays when I noticed a box of SF paperbacks from the 1960s and 70s. The lady at the counter turned out to have two more in the back.

I managed to leave with only five items total, counting Albert C. + three volumes of Bester and one of Lovecraft. I'm sure it could have been worse. There was a time I would have tried to make a deal for all three boxes, minus the stuff I already have on a shelf in Nebraska. I'm not really on the fiction train these days. I can remember reading maybe half a dozen novels last year, and I think I'm sitting at three for 2009.

I don't feel much like writing fiction these days either. At least not anything more fictional than this.

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I think the reddit comments on this piece are worth reading. Every once in a while you'll say something that seems to you fairly commonsensical and trip into a zone of prejudice for an entire field. The humanities, and literature specifically, are one of those zones for an awful lot of programmers.

On the other hand, I'd hate to reinforce this idea too much. Programming is a domain of language and literature — at least as much as it's one of mathematics and mechanics. You'd have to be a pretty dull programmer not to notice how often, and how directly, programming feels like an exercise in applied philosophy or an argument about problems of representation. And for all the knee-jerk contempt floating around in the field (often so bitter and reflexive that you start to wonder if somebody had his girlfriend stolen by an English major more than once), you find a lot of hackers with broad literary interests.

— o —

What if this turns out to be my life's work?