The Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

The purpose of this post is to announce a new feature I will be introducing to this site in September. The reason I am announcing the new feature in advance is to try to make the intention of the new feature clear from the outset, and also to let readers know that the new feature – which I am calling “Sunday Arts” – is open to all for readers’ own contributions, as I explain below.


In order to clarify what I am going to be up to with the new feature, I have to explain where the idea for the feature came from.


Like everyone at the outset of the pandemic last year, I found myself out of sorts and at loose ends with almost all social interaction and activity completely cut off. Just to keep myself occupied, I started reading and listening to music. As the stay-at-home confinement period dragged on, the number of books I was reading and the amount of music I was consuming reached really kind of ridiculous proportions.


Early on, I was content just to have my mind occupied. But after a while, I felt the reading and listening should both be a little more organized and a little more purposeful. I started to concentrate my reading into books about European history from the 16th to the 19th century, and I concentrated my music listening to classical music from the same period. As my reading and listening became more focused, I started to realize something interesting. I realized that I was beginning to identify relationships between ideas and themes in many of the books I was reading. I was also beginning to have a better appreciation of the relationship between the music I was listening to and the actual circumstances when the music was first written and performed.


As I started to identify and develop these themes and patterns between the books I was reading and the music I was listening to, it occurred to me that I should try to write some of my observations down. This idea, of writing something based on my reading and listening, gestated, developed, and evolved over the course of many months. After much cogitation, I have finally identified the approach I intend to take in writing out some of my thoughts and observations. What I intend to do is, as I indicated at the outset, introduce a new feature on this site that I am going to call “Sunday Arts.”


In the forthcoming Sunday Arts feature, I intend to publish short essays on specific topics I found myself thinking about as a result of my reading and music listening over the last year and a half. Most of the posts will be focused on a single piece of music or the music of a single composer. The flexibility of the blog format will allow me to link to online videos or other sources so that the music itself can accompany the post.


I will publish the first post in the Sunday Arts series on Sunday September 12, 2021. I hope to publish several additional Sunday Arts posts over the next few Sundays after that. After an initial period in which I will be adding posts in the series every week, I will move to more of an every-other-Sunday approach.


There is a particular reason why I am going to the trouble of the laying out my plan at the outset. Of course, I want to make sure everyone understands what I am up to. But I also want to make it clear from the outset that while I am going to initiate this series and illustrate the intended approach, my hope is that readers will themselves be inspired to write up essays of their own, in which they describe and discuss what they are interested in and what they have been thinking about. While I hope readers will observe and adopt the essay approach I will be taking, I also hope readers may develop their own approaches. Some may want simply to contribute a book review, or to discuss a work of art rather than a piece of music. Or try something else completely different.


Once I have published a few essays in September and October, I think the purpose and goal of the new Sunday Arts feature will be clearer. My hope is that at that point, readers will be inspired to try their hand drafting their own essays with a goal of having their writings published on this site, as a part of the Sunday Arts series.


One final note. I hope readers like the Sunday Arts feature. I have to admit I am a little apprehensive about doing this. I feel like I am going out on a limb a little bit here, because I am going so far beyond my (self-appointed) remit as a commentator on insurance and legal topics. However, long time readers know that it is not unprecedented for me to go off-topic. Honestly, among the thousands of posts I have published on this site over the last 15+ years, many of my favorites are among the off-topic posts.


It may be that this new initiative will crash and burn. I could run out of Ideas. Readers could prove reluctant to contribute their own content. Even worse (from my perspective), it could turn out that readers are completely uninterested in the kind of content I intend to publish.


I think my apprehension is clear – but I am going to go ahead with the new feature anyway. Once I get it launched, I will be very interested to know what readers think. I hope you will let me know.


In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., all of life is an experiment. I will be launching one of my own on Sunday September 12, 2021.