Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Trip to Chicago for the celebration of a special occasion.  On flights–there and back–I was pre-checked, meaning going through security without removing belt, shoes, jacket, without displaying the allowed three-ounce liquids, without body scanning.  I took out keys, cell phone, and had take-on baggage x-rayed.  I walked through a metal detector, just as in times past.  For once, security seemed reasonable.  The procedure made the travel much less stressful.

Good People, Good Hearts.  “I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.”  (Whitman)  I visited friends and their friends, people I see only once every year or two, but with whom I feel at home.  As I type their names, I remember times spend together, whether moments, hours, or days:  Paul, David, Julie, Nancy, Laura, Andrew, Dave, Alex, Bob, Rachael, Elizabeth, and newly met Jenny.  (Even Christine.)

At Johnny’s Diner.  Two other men and I are sitting at the counter.  There are several stools between each of us.  As I was about half-way through my BLT, the man closer to me said, “Hey, buddy, I’ve just paid for your sandwich.”  “Well, thanks, I appreciate that.”  He said, “I’m a car salesman.  I’m an asshole.  I hope such as this will help save my damned soul.”  I said, “If I can be an agent for that, I’m glad.  Thanks again.”  He said, as he left, “Have a good night, buddy.”

Some Quotations from Recent Readings, chosen for idea, facility of expression, or humor:

describing a pirate crew:  “. . . that band of Satan’s hellions.”  (Damian Serbu, The Pirate Witch)

pirates speaking:  “Attack!  Get ready for attack!  We got pirates on our asses.”  (Damian Serbu, The Pirate Witch)

elusive possibilities:  “. . . the unexpected boy who showed up one summer and never reappeared.”  (Elizabeth Hudson, “Sea Change,” Our State, May, 2014.

apt comparison: “. . . as tough as a woman in an Annie Proulx story.”  (Geoff Dyer, “Shipmates, The New Yorker, April 21, 2014)

listing of colors of first class airlines accommodations:  “. . . tan, mauve, plum, taupe, brown”  (David Owen, “Game of Thrones,” The New Yorker, April 21, 2014.

perceptive observation about Moby-Dick:  “. . . the book’s bizarre humor, its radical weirdness.”  (Justin Hocking, The Great Floodwaters of the Wonderworld)

At a Restaurant in Midway Airport.  “Fish and chips with unsweetened iced tea, please,” I said.  Waitress Lillian said, “There’s no sweet tea here.  You’d have to stick your finger in it.”  I said, “I like that.  But in my case, it would turn the tea into bitter gall.”  “HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!” she belly-cackled, the sound filling the entire area of the restaurant.

Reading.  Nonfiction.  The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld: A Memoir by Justin Hocking, Graywolf Press, 2014.  From the cover:  “When Justin Hocking moves to New York City, his obsession with the novel Moby-Dick deepens, and he discovers a thriving surf culture at Rockaway Beah.  Soon, in the wake of a difficult breakup and a traumatic robbery, he’ll embark on his own night sea journey.”

Hocking is a surfer and skate boarder and excellent writer.  He write with an energetic force, and we learn first-hand about his participation in his sports, his anxieties and depression, his self-discovery through Unity Church and a Twelve-Step program for “obsessive romantic entanglements.”  He’s also obsessive about Moby-Dick and incorporates discussion about the book into his story.  I particularly enjoyed these things:  learning about contemporary photographer Ryan McGinley, reading a list of twenty-nine writers and artists who have admired Moby-Dick (including Jackson Pollock, Tony Kushner, Frank Stella, Barry Lopez, Hart Crane, Nathaniel Philbrick), and the recounting of a marathon reading of Moby-Dick.

Monday Night News from North Carolina.  Two friends in Illinois tell me news that startles me, that the United Church of Christ has filed a law suit with the State of North Carolina, on Amendment One, the state constitutional amendment that defines, limits marriage.  They describe the arguments used by UCC.  Onward, Christian Soldiers, as the old hymn goes.

Thank you for reading.  I hope the upcoming month of May will bring you joy and other good things.

I will not post a blog next Wednesday, May 7.

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About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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