Trying my best to get myself back into the work mode. Not that I really require much to operate as a correction officer, except for the ability to wake up real early, show up and exhibit some common sense. As far as common sense, I have noticed that it is not always common and it is one of the few attributes that can’t be taught. Well, enough of a subject that I choose not to talk about, on to a subject that brought me great inspiration this weekend.
For our third anniversary, my wife and I decided to head down to Charlottesville, VA. I haven’t been there since I was about eight and I have wanted to go back for a while. The main purpose of the trip was to finally visit the home of James Madison, who just happens to be the founder that usually peeks my curiosity the most. I don’t know what it is about James Madison, but I have always found a sort of magnetic pull towards his writings and works. Something that just makes sense to my rambling thoughts. Along with Madison’s home (which was a great experience and we had a great tour guide, usually I hate tour guides) I had a chance to visit Monticello for the second time. I had a wonderful time at both houses and was able to pick up a few new books for my library, including a copy of the Jefferson Bible which seems an excellent read and retort to conservatives trying to push the “founders were only interested in the Christian faith when speaking about freedom of religion” also picked up a book on Jeffersons writings and a good short book on Madison’s life.
Charlottesville also possesses quite a few nice used and rare book stores. I was able to get a “Princeton reader in political thought” and a copy of Voltaire’s Candide in French for my mom. I was real close to buying a two volume set of the letters between Adams and Jefferson but talked myself out of the fifty dollar price.
When I go on long drives, I usually like to have an audio book or two along for the ride. I recently downloaded a copy of the federalist papers, and for the ride I decided to download Frederick Douglass’ narrative of slavery. I can’t say that I expected the book to be as moving as it was, but by the time I finished the book I was in sheer awe that a human being could survive the conditions that African-Americans endured in the Antebellum south. I mean, I studied the era in college, however the only in depth course I took that would relate was on the civil rights movement.
Much of my knowledge in American history takes a break from Jackson to just a little before the civil war, that era never really drew me in, however, the narrative is probably one of the most harrowing accounts of what human beings are capable of. Both as the victimizer of an entire race and the ability of the human mind to refusal to be subjugated.
The narrative is one of the best descriptions I have heard on the great paradox of the creation of the United States; slave holders wanting to be free.
Now that I am back from my trip it is time for me to rebalance the shuffle that my life has been. Working 0600-1400 at Graterford, coming home to read and write, getting various graduate school applications in order, trying to stay involved in various grassroots works and finding that ever elusive 25th hour in the day. It is all coming along and my only regret was that maturity and drive eluded me during my undergraduate work, almost ten years ago. However, I can almost guarantee, I will not let myself hold myself back this time. It is scary what your mind is capable of when you realize that you are actually worth the investment.