Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Walks on below-freezing or at-freezing temperatures are invigorating and fast.  This week I looked for the color red on the 1-4 Walk, the Brigadoon Playground Walk, and the Rachel’s Studio Walk.

I found it in flags on mailboxes, some trucks and cars, tail lights of vehicles, bricks of houses, stripes on the American flag, stop signs, lettering on warning signs, fire hydrants, heart shapes in downtown stores offering sales of items for Valentine’s Day, the winter coat of a silver-haired woman arriving at home, the red-orange of soil in a large garden plot lying fallow, a cardinal on a flag of winter things, a large ball in a yard, a planter on a porch, rockers on porches, some front doors, one-third of any traffic light, a light on an alarm box, a playhouse, a storage shed made to look like a barn, a robin’s breast, leaves of nandina bushes, berries of pyracantha and holly, and on my last block before home, the sight of my friend and best travel buddy, Red Car.

WHA!  I make one of the best, if not the best, lunch hamburger in Christendom.

Notes on Reading.  Fiction.  Honore de Balzac.  The Girl with the Golden Eyes (1835).  In Seven Short French Novel Masterpieces, Popular Library, 1965.

The first half of this short novel is a thorough description of social life in nineteenth century Paris, analyzing character traits of people from all social groups and illustrating specific sights, sounds, smells, and noises of the life of the city.

The plot of the story is the story of the sexual affair of a young, shallow cavalier, Henri de Marsay, with a beautiful, exotic woman, Paquitta, he girl of the title. The descriptions of their trysts are sumptuous in color, atmosphere, and detail, reminding the reader of Poe.  From the beginning of the relationship, it is evident that Paquitta is a Lesbian, and once Henri realizes the fact, he vows to kill her.  On his mission to kill her, he finds her dying from a fatal attack of her Lesbian lover, who happens to be Henri’s half-sister.

It’s a strange and wonderful book that I do not recommend.

Notes on Reading.  Nonfiction.  Robert M. Pirsig.  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values.  Morrow Quill Paperbacks, 1974.

The book’s narrative is the motorcycle trip taken with the author’s eleven-year-old son from Minneapolis to northern California.  The narrative is regularly interrupted with thoughts about developing a philosophy of meaning of life and attaining needed unity in Pirsig’s life.  (He had suffered an emotional breakdown, and as a result of shock therapy, has only images of his former self.)  He calls such reflections “Chautauquas,” and in them we see his explanations and evaluations of such philosophers as Hegel, Kant, Poincare, Plato, Aristotle Socrates, and the Sophists.

Motorcycle maintenance done properly is an image of his synthesized realizations of the limits of rationality and reason and the need for appropriate discipline and attitude derived from Eastern thought.

I had not read the book since 1980.  I plan to read it again.

Writer’s Holiday.  I will not post a blog next week.  I will plan to return to posting the next Wednesday, March 2.  Thanks for reading.

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About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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One Response to Wednesday, February 17, 2016

  1. Hi Bill, maybe their was some red in the ketchup on your burger?
    Enjoy your writer’s holiday!

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