About Me

The photo above is the view from my home in the Sonoran desert. I’m Tina, 5.3 years old in dog years. I live with my in-house philosopher and Geordie Bear.

Scan 5

You’ll find a mix of subjects here. I started this blog with the intention of writing about philosophy and fiction—one or the other or both—but I’ve found myself posting about anything that interests me.

I’ve had a lot of fun collaborating on various projects with blogger friends, including an article that was translated into Romanian. (I stumbled upon this one day while Googling my name. It made me very happy.)

Many of you know I’ve been working on a novel for a while now—a long while—and I’ve finally settled on the title, A Footnote to Plato.

Here’s a blurb-in-progress for my book-in-progress: Dr. Isaac Fischelson is a senior philosophy professor at Winston College, a tiny, liberal arts college in Vermont where everyone knows everyone and decades-old grudges die hard. Throughout his 40+ years of teaching, Isaac has ruffled a few feathers, but he now prefers to ‘mind his own business’ and stay out of campus politics. But that changes when he’s falsely accused of sexual harassment and finds himself swimming against the tide of cultural change. The only way to salvage his career and reputation is to make himself indispensable to the college. That means participating in the community, embracing social media, and taking on an ambitious project in Greece in the hopes of making a name for the college…and maybe even for himself.

When I’m not working on the novel, I enjoy learning flamenco dance and castanets. Still a beginner, but I suspect that will never change. Those of you who’ve studied flamenco probably know what I mean by that.

So far I’ve learned, in some sense of the word, the Sevillanas (with and without castanets), the Rumbas, and right now I’m working on the Guajiras (and fighting a losing battle with my falling-apart fan).  While I don’t post much on flamenco, I’m always eager to talk shop. Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email.


38 thoughts on “About Me

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  4. I wish you the best of luck trying to find that love again and making philosophy more relevant. I suppose I relate a lot to both those goals and have turned to fiction and writing in some ways in their pursuit, though I haven’t written much solid fiction in some time. Best of luck with your writing and thinking and thanks for stopping by to like my post on hashtags.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the problem might be that philosophers tend not to know about writing fiction, and fiction writers tend not to do philosophy. The two ways of thinking are quite distinct and attract different kinds of people. But sometimes you come across a good melange. That’s what I’m working on in my novel about a Plato’s philosophy…crossing my fingers that it doesn’t come off as unrealistic!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Welllllllll…let’s see. There’s Voltaire’s Candide, which is a criticism of Leibniz, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Ayn Rand’s works, Sophie’s World, works by Camus, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Tolstoy’s works, Sartre’s WWII trilogy (I’m blanking on the title at the moment) & Nausea, and definitely Crime and Punishment…morality/ethics fall within the purview of philosophy for sure. I’m sure I’m missing a lot here!

      Liked by 1 person

    • “He observes that many writers on creative writing courses are technically accomplished but regard content as secondary.”

      Exactly why I love the idea of a philosophical novel. I find a lot of fiction writing intriguing yet vacuous. Cleverness can only go so far with me.

      On a side note, I see that he lived in Cornwall, which is interesting to me because I’m considering going there next summer.

      Well, you’ve definitely whet my appetite! I’m just ordered “The Craft of the Novel” on Amazon. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great! I agree about your comment about some modern novels being vacuous. I read Banville’s The Sea and although I wouldnt dismiss it entirely I did think he was overdoing the ‘poetry of language’. You’ll enjoy Colin Wilson. He was a maverick; a total autodidact! His Age of Defeat (Stature of Man in the USA) is another where he challenges the worth of modern novels.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love both philosophy and literature and in fact write fiction as if it were philosophy. I use literature in the philosophy classes I teach and even published a little introduction to phllosophy in dialog form (gee, wonder where I got that idea?). The book is less than a hundred pages, costs less than $15–both the goals my students challenged me to reach after they grew tired of thousand page dully philosophy texts costing over $120. Children are natural philosophers but our schools tend to shake that out of them in elementary school. I view my teaching as restoring the love of questions and of wonder that children had and often lost. Maybe that’s why my classes are always full. It’s certainly not because I’m so interesting!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kudos to you on making philosophy more accessible! Sometimes I wonder if professors are going for a kind of hazing or initiation in the way they conduct things. I’m sure your students appreciate not having to fork over all that money. I never had to buy philosophy textbooks, but I did take a survey of Western thought course which required that I buy a fat pile of books. I believe I spent over $400, and that was after going into town to look for used copies. If I had had a Kindle back then, I could have acquired nearly all of those books for free, as these were all classics.

      You know when I was in France, I found huge sections on philosophy for all ages. There was the most adorable illustrated book on Plato’s allegory of the cave in which these kids find themselves in a computer-generated time warp and they get to meet “Platon” and “Socrate”. I wish I had had such books to read as a child. Philosophy just isn’t as appreciated here. I do remember reading an illustrated version of Aesop’s fables. I was absolutely engrossed in it. It struck me as the cleverest thing I’d ever read.

      Socrates says on his death bed that he wonders if he misinterpreted his recurring dream telling him to “cultivate the arts” and he decides to write his own version of Aesop’s fables!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love your description of what wallowing in philosophy can become. That’s been my own experience as well. I appreciate those who can transcend the cess pool, but give me something that connects with real life or give me scifi and fantasy that provide a temporary “escape” from it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! Nice to meet you.

      Yeah, I once considered going to graduate school in philosophy, but after attending a symposium on Plato at the university I was thinking about applying to, I decided not to go that route. Scholars from all over the country came to speak and I was very excited to hear what happened at this level. The lectures were about dialogues I’d read numerous times, dialogues I’d come to love. I listened to lecture after lecture for three days and I couldn’t believe so many scholars could take something so inherently interesting and make it boring.

      I never used to be into Sci-Fi or Fantasy, but I’ve learned from my readers that there’s a lot of philosophical themes in these genres.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Tina,
    I just discovered there is a little piece of my familie’s history that is connected to the Sonora desert. Since you live in the area, I decided to share it with you. South of Tucson there is a place called Tumacácori National Historical Park. The twin brother of my great-great-grandfather (a man called Clemens Payeken (or Pajeken)) once tried to establish a ranch there for raising sheep, together with some business partners (see https://npgallery.nps.gov/pdfhost/docs/NHLS/Text/71000118.pdf, page 20), just in case you should ever get into that area, just stop there for me 🙂 We have a couple of letters from him mentioning this project and I am considering translating these into English (he was also in San Francisco as a trader during the 1849 gold rush, some historically really interesting stuff). So that is anothr project again on top of the others 🙂
    I hope to be able to resume blogging a bit more soon and return to some other porjects as well. How is your novel project going?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been there! It was a while ago, but some friends took us to the Christmas luminaria display, which was phenomenal, absolutely enchanting. The mission looks very similar to the one here in Tucson, San Xavier, which is still operating, believe it or not. If you came to Tucson, these missions would be a must see for you.

      Here are some photos that others have taken of the one in Tumacacori on TripAdvisor:


      And here’s the park’s website, in case you haven’t seen it already. You might find some interesting photos in there:

      More recently I’ve been to Tubac, not far from Tucson. (Tumacacori is a little bit further away from us.) Tubac is now a small touristy area, not much of interest there for us anymore, but we’ve gone down there to star gaze since it’s far from the city lights.

      The story of your relative is pretty amazing. It sounds like he was run out by the Apaches and never returned? I couldn’t get the story quite right. We just drove through the Apache reservation today on our way back from the White Mountains.

      This part in the document was pretty funny:
      …was the site of ruins of an old church, its altar still intact and a bell hanging in the”cupola.” The ranch was still occupied by two Germans, whom Bennett thought…”kept an awful old bachelor hall” (Fontana 1971:79).

      I’d love to help you with the translation if you want.

      As for the novel, it’s going…very slowly. I just got the critique back from the writing group, and apparently they think I have all the plot in place, but now I’m second guessing a lot of it. I’ll definitely have to cut a significant portion of it, but I knew that already. On the drive home I tried to restructure the novel in my head, then I considered rewriting the entire thing in omniscient, and now I’m just totally confused. In any case, I didn’t fall asleep at the wheel. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Tina,
    I’ve seen you react to a few of my comments, and we’ve even had a brief back-and-forth somewhere – but it was the username that made you stick out in my mind. This morning I had to see ‘where you come from’ (i.e. your blog) and I have to say I like your style! Bright mind, clear writing, and engaging content – I’m glad I visited.
    Wishing you well 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I haven’t been posting as much as I used to, that’s for sure, but I’d rather do it when the mood strikes than force myself to stick to a schedule.

      And I’d be happy to trade first chapters sometime, if I ever get my draft completed.


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