April 03, 2011

Weekend Thoughts

It’s funny how quickly non-fiction surfeits; a steady diet of it this week leaves me "unenthralled". How nice to it was Friday, on the cusp of the weekend, drinking a craft and listening to the Dvorak. I overlooked a colorful cliff of books - how yummy! One is titled simply “Beer” and is naturally appealing given my beverage of choice. Then there’s the shadowy “Shadow Country” by Peter Matthiessen. I also am in the mood to recover some of McMurtry.

It’s Lent and so I’m reading a spiritual book although I think I’d be better off just praying more. There’s a saying with regard to teaching that “those who can do, those who can’t teach.” Perhaps a corollary is: “those who are holy are, those who aren’t read about it.”

Agree with Amy Welborn’s bafflement over “The Imperfectionists”. I’m stuck in a chapter of caricature and the novel is without local color. You’d hardly know it was set in Rome.

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Been a long time (in my terms) since a sight-seeing vacation. Last April’s Chicago trip. Ponderous. Might be time to plan a NYC or D.C. getaway. DC has a lot of good museums and is likely cheaper, although admittedly NY is NY and is the drug of choice when it comes to big cities. I could do worse than juggle NY, Boston & D.C. as the annual jaunt. Spring comes and I feel a bit of wanderlust.

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Drinking in the bookroom, both literally and figuratively. Drinking, in the bookroom. Drinking in the bookroom. I catch the scent of folly, of so many half-read or unread volumes collected in one place. I look at it lightheartedly except with the spiritual volumes. Elsewhere it smacks of wisdom - what profit is there in completing a 1600-page book chronicling the history of Europe? - but sometimes I’m wistful. What does it say that so many spiritual books remain half-read? It makes me want to finish “Into Your Hands” just for the sake of finishing it. I suspect part of the half-finished nature of spiritual volumes is that they are so potent. One can read a paragraph and have much to think on, to meditate on. A 100-page book can be as full as a 400-page history tome.

I revel in all the details of the grand bookroom space, and I think of how precious the few minutes pre-work I have here and now, granted with time to spare, I wonder what it would take to welcome Monday with open arms and to not so covet those early moments.

My eye goes to the beautifully bound old books about my alma mater, how now it seems such a small percentage of my life. Less than 10% of it I spent on that ground and yet I have a spate of books describing it through time. It feels almost a random place now, no longer sacred in the technical sense but meaningful as every square inch of plot is meaningful because all was God-created. If before there were wastelands in my imagination, now I remind myself that even the most inhospitable, "god-forsaken" climes as still imbued with God since he created it. I remember a film with an ending lonesome as lonesome can be, with the hero casting himself out into deep space without any means of sustenance. He had no choice, and the movie sort of presented it as exhilarating but I saw it as the ultimate disconnectedness. But is not God even in the most outer part of outer space?

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