Wednesday, April 26, 2017

At Random.

“When something or someone you love troubles your conscience–when your everyday relationships are political acts–do you try to be a moderating force, or are you obligated to make a break entirely?”  (Lauren Collins, “Secrets in the Sauce: The Politics of Barbecue and the Legacy of a White Supremacist,” The New Yorker, April 24, 2017)

In the latter choice above, especially when we try the former option and it doesn’t work,  we choose the greater love, the love and respect for self.

I poured salt and pepper into bowls from their shakers so that I could wash the shakers.  I had not noticed salt and pepper in bowls before.  The pepper, a color of dark brown and black, made the air smell pungent and good.

I did not feel well, and so I slept.  A day planned  for cleaning the house became a day of rest and reading.

Decades ago a friend told me that she thought that colored neon lights were ugly.  I’ve been more aware of neon lights since then,, trying to see ugliness.  I don’t.  I like them.

I like westerns: movies, short stories, novels.  When friends find out, they are sometimes surprised and ask “Why?”  A better question is, “What do you like about them?”  I’ve not thought about it, but I will begin to do so.

Wall colors to consider.  Green: frosted pine, sage pond, pine forest green.  Blue: polar sky, under the big top, Hudson Bay.  Yellow:  Pernod, hay stack, Viking yellow.  To my sight “Gentleman’s gray” looks dark blue.  Is the name a joke on the idea that men don’t see colors well?  Who makes up these names?

Notes on Reading.  Fiction.  Ernest Hemingway, Winner Take Nothing (1933).  Scribner.

Most of these fourteen short stories lack plot.  They are slice-of-life depictions of characters in precarious or mundane situations.

I particularly liked “The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio” because I realized that the characters are those which Steinbeck would use, but the setting and writing style are not.  It would be interesting to take the characters and re-write the story using a Steinbeck setting and style.  Will I do so?  No.

Three other stories are of note.  “A Natural History of the Dead” is a catalogue of the horrors of war.  “A Day’s Wait,” one of my favorite stories, depicts nine-year-old Schatz as a typical Hemingway hero, exemplifying the famous descriptor, “grace under pressure.”  The masterpiece “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” is in this collection, with the famous existential viewpoint represented in the prayer, “Our nada who are in nada, nada be thy name they kingdom nada they will be nada in nada as it is in nada . . . Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee.”

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About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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