Prison Diary: Bateson’s Peripheral Visions

The World Needs You

Prison Diary: Mary Catherine Bateson:  Peripheral Visions

An Extended Consideration

by Alan Carl Nicoll

Copyright 2018 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved


While I was at Fresno County Jail, it was a continual struggle to get worthy books to read.  As a result, over the course of two months I read Mary Catherine Bateson’s Peripheral Visions three times, with much pondering and writing about it along the way.  This document collects the best quotes and such from my diary of the time.  I have deleted many bare quotes (meaning, quotes I didn’t directly comment on) because I have not obtained permission.  Undated comments in [braces] are from this week.  One paragraph of this piece was used in my most recent “New Diary” post.

What do I remember of the book, ten years later?  Not a lot, just that it was very stimulating and informative, and, in a…

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On Reading Charles Bukowski

An old post (2018) that is more like an essay than most of my blog items. Charles Bukowski, popular after death as he rarely was in life.

The World Needs You


Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

[Photo source:  Wikipedia]

I like to say and to tell myself that I was “influenced” by Henry Thoreau, Bertrand Russell, Jonathan Kozol, and other acclaimed and brilliant thinkers–see My Best Books for a long list.  But in fact I started reading Charles Bukowski before any of these others, in my teens, and found in him the antisocial antihero that I had longed for without knowing it, that others found in James Dean or The Wild One, a kind of savage, a Tarzan of the slums.  It was Bukowski (hereafter, affectionately, “Buk”) that nourished the social critic, the crank, in me, and prepared me for the more systematic and effective Walden of Thoreau that I loved and was corrupted by at seventeen.

I first encountered Bukowski in his book, Notes of a Dirty Old Man, in my local bookstore; I bought it for the…

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