August 17th, 2009


Death, doom, despair

Maybe it's flu, maybe it's wanhope, maybe it's a weekend spent at a cottage on the Niagara peninsula-- a flat unbeautiful stretch of land always covered in heat haze, where people watch television because there's nothing else to do but drink. Yes, yes, they grow wine there. But you'd have to be either drunk all the time or a Buddhist recluse not to go mad at the excess of nothing on all sides, which (even worse) requires a car to get you to it. Auden's estate is ferociously copy-righted so there's no online version, and the poem itself is too long for me to type, but his Plains contains the line, "I cannot see a plain without a shudder,/ 'Oh God, please, please don't ever make me live there." Yes. Yes. *This*, as the wacky mono say.
And think of growing where all elsewheres are equal!
     So long as there's a hill-ridge somewhere the dreamer
Can place his land of marvels; in poor valleys
     Orphans can head downstream to seek a million;
Here nothing points; to choose between Art and Science
     An embryo genius would have to spin a stick.
Knowing what the cottage can do to me in its worst moods (ie hot sweltering mug, shimmery grey hazed sky, stink of polluted lake, and no, that's it, sorry all but I'm never going to LRD ever) I brought a backpack of books to read, including that simple-minded White Hart novel. But wanhope/ flu/ ferocious muscle spasms ruled out anything Japanese, as they did the undistinguished Martha Wells I'd also brought. (Why do so many fantasies read like tapwater? and tapwater written on a computer, to boot.) If I must suffer, let me suffer to some purpose, so I gnawed doggedly away at The Fall of the Kings. And finished it today, finally, dragging feet and ripping nails out all the way.
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