02 April, 2009

a raspy death-rattle

Thanks to Dr. Tillman, our room's flower count has now been upped 11 (little yellow daffodils), bringing our grand total to 28. 28! I hope we will have bees soon...

The DTH's crossword puzzle today is just too hard. I hate that. I hate that I don't know the second lightest element, Arlo's favorite restaurant, "Juno" director Reitman or the Wisconsin birthplace of Orson Welles. Because I SHOULD know ALL THESE THINGS. Clearly.

While I was sitting in reporting class today, I kept thinking about how happy I would be when it was over, how I'm so utterly exhausted by being a reporter. And then I remembered that I'm going to be working for a newspaper this summer. You can never escape journalism. It is always breathing down your neck, albeit these days its breath sounds more like a raspy death-rattle...

I am reading four books right now, all of which I am enjoying immensely. (It took me way too long to finish D.H. Lawrence, St. Mawr and the Man Who Died, and Thomas Merton's Zen and the Birds of Appetite. Both were good, but slow. But then again, Zen is slow. Zen is mostly incomprehensible to my western mind.)

Current four books:
1. Cane, Jean Toomer (for my literary modernism class; it's amazing)
2. The Joke, Milan Kundera (my birthday gift from Angela; it's superb so far)
3. The Essential Haiku, transl. Robert Hass (anniversary gift from Guion)
4. Collected Poems, Wendell Berry (my birthday gift from Guion last year, that I am finally getting around to reading through)

I seem to read things in strange yearly cycles; I'm magnetized to things on an annual basis. According to my journals, almost exactly one year ago, I was also reading haiku and meditating on its minimalistic beauty.

Here are two from the grand master, Basho:

It's not like anything
they compare it to--
the summer moon.


How admirable!
to see lightning and not think
life is fleeting.

To reward myself for finishing a poli exam, I also bought a copy of Lolita, which will be taken up once I've finished The Joke. I have an unflagging fascination with Nabokov, because when you read him, you are reading the words of an incomparable genius. English was this man's second language, and yet he can write it with more skill and more depth and more beauty than more than half of native English-speaking writers! It's unbelievable to me, every time I remember this.

In other news, it's the end of the written world as we know it.

It's also Scott Phillips's fault that I really want to own and consume the second volume of Proust, Within a Budding Grove or In Search of Young Girls in Flower or whatever you want to call it. "When I read Proust," he told me at a party a few weeks ago, "I feel the way that some people do when they're reading romance novels. Like everything is bright and real and exciting!" I remembered that feeling and thought I should like to have it again.

I overheard a prematurely middle-aged man in Davis Library last night talking on his cellphone. He was standing in a hallway, assuming no one could hear his conversation. But we could all hear him when he said, plaintively, "... so I met her on this trail, you know, and we really hit it off, but then I didn't ask for her number, and she went off and talked to this other guy... I just, I don't know. I feel like I should have gone for it." I exchanged raised eyebrows and subtle smiles with the two girls at an adjacent table. We were all thinking, "Yeah, dude. You should have gone for it."

"Turning points in the evolution of love are not always the result of dramatic events; they often stem from something that at first seems completely inconsequential." -- Kundera, The Joke


Angela Tchou said...


or the dew drop in says scott

inthewoods said...

Alice's Restaurant here in Stockbridge, MA. With Arlo living right down the street.

Elizabeth said...

thank you, abby, for making me laugh this evening.