Friday, September 27, 2013
Sept 15, 2013
Still dark when I got up this morn. I always have the feeling of winter in the air as mornings get darker. I read for awhile. I am right now in a chaos of reading. I can't make up my mind what I want to read. Erich Auerbach has me for now. Wouldn't it be wonderful for American lit if a guy like E.B. White, who can really seriously write the English language, wrote a book like Mimesis? I was thinking about certain passages I might lean on if I should ever try myself. There's one chapter in Zhivago. I'd have to look it up. It has tormented me for a decade now. I am afraid to read it again. Even Plath's Bell Jar is less ominous. That chapter at the end of Whipple's Castle, and "A High New House". There must be some poetry. Drum Taps. A good long kick of a piece of Four Quartets. Just how great, after all, was Eliot's prose style? Who wants to write like a college professor? I wish I could say that White had more upstairs. But there are plenty of folks who'll say that about anybody. I still don't know where writing comes from. Why would any one want to make poetry? Make themselves prey to liars and cheats. Even the thought of truth telling is embarrassing. Sincerity is embarrassing. Must I tell the truth? Must I be sincere? In the chill and annual lowering of the sun I was fixed by unimportant personal things like what damned book I should read next. That's not even to speak of what I should be writing next. What embarrassing human frailty will I expose next? After awhile a chaotic life gets to you. A life of numerous interests can be happy, if kept in check. Should I read next Mimesis or The Selected Essays of E.B. White or go back and check out Zhivago again, even if he is a Roosian? And then Tom Williams has been bugging me from beyond the grave to reread a handful of passages, and I got out Russell Edson's selected poems from Minerva, the inter-library loan program, and then I bought a copy of Stallman's Emacs–Fifteenth Edition from Amazon, for UNIX is constantly on my mind. I swear Apple is holding me back from getting somewhere, I know not where. FSF and GNU will save me. One of the kittens, we are overwhelmed by kittens, is prowling around the house. I can see it in the dawn from the window in my man cave. It is practicing hunting. It prowls stealthily, just like the lions on the TV; it has found a mouse, it suddenly pounces, a flicker of a little grey tail above the grass–when was the last time I mowed the lawn?–, it lets go, the tops of the leaves of grass wrinkle, it pounces again, plays with the small live thing as if a toy. The disgusting despot! We will need heating fuel for the winter. There is no money in the pot. If the winter is as stormy and unstable as the summer was, we Mainers are in for it. They are predicting a stormy winter beginning in October. A friend of mine reminded me of Stephen Crane, how young he was to die. I have just found a fine book: The Complete Short Stories and Sketches of Stephen Crane in a used book store nearby my house. I settle down and soon I am at peace.