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Showing posts from November, 2005

Washington Square

No, not the place; the book. I finished Henry James' masterpiece at midnight last night, and as proof of its beauty, have found myself mulling over it at sudden times throughout the day.

There is a severely unemotional quality to James' writing that is striking. James neither restrains nor ignores emotion; he simply does not discuss it. In some ways, he writes around it. He describes personality and location and mood in his distinct, precise manner, and after he has built up a scene of words, the emotion is suddenly there--an inevitable result of the specific situation he is describing. To my mind, he is the perfect--the only perfect? though not my favorite--writer.

The book posed two questions as I read it. Why is it called Washington Square? It is less about place than Rebecca or Brideshead Revisited or Wuthering Heights, yet it is named after a specific location in New York City. And what is the broader significance of a narrowly focused character study of a woman who discove…

Road Trip Impressions

If you ever visit Columbia, South Carolina, go to a coffee shop called Cool Beans. It's full of cigarette smoke, but they give you your drink in a real mug. My mug was a solid, squarish shape and it was mustard yellow. The best thing to do while you're there is sit around a table with four old friends and talk about what you've all done since you last saw each other. At least, that's what I did.

It rained almost the whole way back. Visibility was fine until the sun set, when all the truck drivers on Interstate 81 turned into demons straight out of hell. It's like they get on their CB radios and yell, "C'mon guys! There's heavy traffic, a downpour, slick roads, and patches of fog! Let's all drive twenty miles over the speed limit . . . and ain't nobody gonna slow us down!" Every time a truck passed me, it would kick sheets of raindrops onto my windshield, temporarily blinding me. I started playing a grim game called "Race the Trucks&quo…

Election Day 2005

Vote YES for . . .

1) My sister, who turns 21 today. I love you, K.!

2) Irish breakfast tea

3) Country music

4) Funny people

5) 6) 7) My housemates (all three of them)

8) The Village soundtrack

9) Waking up to Michael W. Smith's Freedom CD this morning

10) Not waking up to jackhammers outside my window. This is not something you want to know more about.