www.martinnaef.ch / 1.2: Briefe > An Dennis S., im März 1992

An Dennis S., im März 1992

Dear Dennis! Thanks for your last letter with all the news about you, your life-situation, your plans etc.. Yes, I will be in Geneva; I just got some documentation about the conference today. As is the case with most everything I do these days I don't quite know what I should do there or why I'm going, but I will go. I seem to be involved in too many things at once at present, so that I don't find the peace and quiet to really get to the heart of something.

I know, that there is something which matters to me in all I do, there is a moving force behind all my activities in the field of education, but the more I get lost in day to day rutine, the less capable I am to articulate this unknown something that moves me and the less energy I have to go for the things which once were important to me. I should put more energy into "endlich", the "journal for freedom in education", but I just don't know why. I should put more energy into the school-reform project in Zurich, which I'm involved in since about two years (without anything really happening there!), I should ... Well. It feels as if I have to take another step, inwardly, get to a decision, reorganize my life a bit. ... - I am going around in cyrcles with this letter and that's exactly what I am doing in my life at present - at least in many respects.

The administration of "endlich" has collapsed in November of last year and it is still unclear, whether we lost readers because of the chaos which the person in charge left behind when he gave up the job. The number of readers is considerably smaller than he'd told us some months earlier. That has really been a blow to me; it makes me still feel very hesitant about the whole thing: "to go on or not to go on", this is the question that I am carrying with me since the beginning of this year. At present I should get the June-Issue organized, but somehow I just don't feel that this type of work matters much in the world of today.... I've tried to get some articles published in ordinary newspapers, but there too I am somewhat deilusiont. I am just not the kind of person who can ring up newspapers day and night and live with the fact, that they're in general (there are exceptions) just not interested in what I would like to write. It seems that I am unable to communicate the sense of urgency, which I feel, when talking or thinking about the way our educational reality works. ... O.K. enough of this complaining for today! There isn't anything I can do but keep trying with all these external and internal problems and questions!

You mentioned, that Shelley and I could revitalize our old reading-agreement, if I'd be interested in Cozol's "Savage inequalities" or in Fisk's "Smart schools - smart kids". The idea sounds good to me. I am not sure, however, whether I am really interested in the recording of entire books. I very seldom want to really read a book from the first to the last page anymore; I am much more interested in tables of contents and selected chapters. The taping of entire books is also to expensive. What I suggest instead is something like a "Monthly Educational" with book‑reports, newspaper articles, selections from certain books or journals -, just things, which help me be in touch with actual discussion on education in the States. Since you've to read a lot anyhow, you could maybe just put aside what you think might interest me (school critics; reform-debates (including the voucher-issue); alternative projects of some interest; new books (sometimes book-reports are the best way to get to know them without reading them all) etc.). A selection of this type would interest me very much! If Shelley is interested in trying and if you can help a bit, I'd say: let's try it. I can pay one Dollar for every two minutes read on tape, that is $45 for a 90 minute cassette, and I think that one cassette every 4 or 6 weeks is about what I can digest at present. - How does this sound?

If you want to try this, I would say: let's start with this project now. I will tell you, how I like your selection, what I missed and what I didn't find so hot when you've mailed the first cassette to me. It may be, that my idea doesn't work after all, but I suggest, that we try it out! - What do you think about this, Shelley? You want to do it? - I will of course pay you in any case, however much I like or dislike your selections. - If you and Shelley feel that you'd rather wait until after Geneva, that's fine, too.

Well, that's it for today. I am going to make myself a cup of coffee now and then I will try to tackle the things I've to tackle!

I wish you all a good time over there. I'm looking forward to seeing you, Dennis, in Geneva. Should you need a place to stay in Basel, call. Usually we have enough room for guests. - Good bye