In training to be a hedgehogThere is a line among the fragments of the Greek poet Archilochus which says: 'The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing'. -- Isaiah Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox
It goes completely contrary to my nature, but I am trying hard to become a hedgehog -- at least for a while. The one big thing right now is the book on the history of Latin American architecture and urbanism. Which of course is part of an even bigger thing, my career. Except, fox-like, I've never settled exactly on what my career was -- pursuing "many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related by no moral or aesthetic principle," as Berlin describes us. But I'll try to be at least a temporary hedgehog, pretending to ignore all those other many ends -- fiction-writing, news commentary, social activism, etc. -- at least for the duration, until I get this draft done. I've managed to do something like that a few times before; it never lasts, but it does get a specific job done. I may sneak out of my hedge now and then to write something on this blog -- it's hard to control myself -- but I'm going to make an effort to just let those little inspirations go.
There are those who think I already have too many animals in my editorial team. Those are the people who have forgotten to think like children. Such a shame.
Portrait of a hedgehog