Thursday, August 30, 2007

Vintage Twins

Sweet. Launching in September, Vintage Classics is pairing classics with the new. What great "independent study" choices these would make for grade 12 English Class. Kids have it easy these days.

Matches include:
  • Lewis Carol + Haruki Murakami
  • Henry Fielding + Martin Amis
  • George Elliot + A.S. Byatt
  • Charles Dickens + Irvine Welsh
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky + Patricia Highsmith
  • Henry James + Ian McEwan
  • Mary Shelly + Jeanette Winterson
  • Jonathan Swift + Michel Houellebecqu
  • Dante Alighieri + Philip Roth

Read more about this in Giles Foden's blog from the Guardian.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Journey Out

Be fast, but quiet
Not a whisper, not a sound
Listen to me, hold my hand
And walk

Walk from here
This once a home, this once a country
This once a dome

Leave it
Leave it all behind
The worldly things that bind us to
This once a home, this once a country
This once a dome of light

Say goodbye
For you will not return
You will not look back
You will not be sad

It is not for you
This once a home

Wrapped in the embrace of my love
You will be warm without its sun

You will not miss it.

Sleeping Beauty

This is my winter, this is my sleep
This is the misery beneath the deep

This is the debauchery of my youth
The whispering, cunning of the sleuth

The ocean of my patience surged
But a handful rose from the submerged

I watch them cry a lake of dreams
Their voices calm, but echo screams

My heart and beauty full of dust
My art concealed beneath the rust

Oh fair and luminous hand of Might
Where is the day that this will right

My secret.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Crackety crack. I walked as quietly as I could. I tiptoed even. The state of my heart and the state of the floors. Was there an echo? The past forgot. The days erased. And yet still standing. A little chipped. A little torn. I tried. I tried to walk as quietly as I could. But the floors were ever so unforgiving.
"Who's there?" asked a grumbly voice.
"Who's there I say?"
"Why must you make such a ruckus?"
"I want to go outside," I said in my hushed voice.
"Outside? Outside is for lunatics. For madmen who do not know right from wrong, and who, even if they do, plead ignorance. Outside is for monkeys and fruit. Are you a monkey?"
"Then a fruit?"
I paused, wondering if I could perchance be a fruit. "What kind of a fruit would I be?" I thought. "An apple? Too obvious. A banana? No. That attracts the lazies. A pomegranate? Too difficult. Perhaps a watermelon. Yes, a watermelon."
"I'm a watermelon," I yelled.
"Ok then. That's why you're in here. Now go back to your room. It's almost time for your pills. And don't forget, the Betty By Bakers are coming in to sing at the common lounge tonight."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On the Streetcar

"Do you want to see that movie on Friday night?"
"Well? What do you think?" she asked, finally looking up at him. "Did you read the synopsis that I sent you?"
"It looks like something you would like."
"Yeah. It looks interesting."
"Do you remember Judy, my first manager at work?"
"You should have seen the note she sent me today. Full of ridiculous spelling mistakes. I really don't understand how she got where she is."
"And did I tell you that Jen actually wants to invite Tom to the dinner next week?"
"Yeah! She knows how much we dislike him. After what he did? Does she really think we're all going to have dinner and pretend nothing ever happened?"
"I don't know. I guess it's difficult for her. I mean you're both friends of hers".
Emily rolled her eyes and gave a dirty look to the man sitting on her other side. "If they can't shower, they shouldn't be allowed on public transportation," she thought.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On Being Ill

One of the most beautiful sentences I've ever read is the opening of Virginia Woolf's essay On Being Ill. At 181 words, it drips with honesty, insight, and wonder.

"Consider how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view, what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals, what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us by the act of sickness, how we go down in the pit of death and feel the waters of annihilation close above our heads and wake thinking to find ourselves in the presence of the angels and the harpers when we have a tooth out and come to the surface in the dentist's arm-chair and confuse his "Rinse the mouth-rinse the mouth" with the greeting of the Deity stooping from the floor of Heaven to welcome us - when we think of this, as we are so frequently forced to think of it, it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature."

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I used to think that she had something very important to tell me. Something private. Something confidential between her and I. But it turned out she was just a chronic whisperer. All a hush. Always leaning in. Those were her ways. A secret wasn't a secret. The world was. So I corroborated.