Quote of the Day: Claire Tomalin

Self is about halfway through Claire Tomalin’s biography of Thomas Hardy.  She hasn’t been able to read much, the last few days, what with all the writing she’s been doing, but she stays up late reading as much as she can.  It turns out that Thomas Hardy, author of, among others, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Jude the Obscure, and Tess of the D’Urbervilles, was “a man with civic responsibilities.”  And yet

More than most writers he knew how to keep an absolute division, a closed and barred door between the polite and quietly spoken person who enjoyed London society and dispensed justice in Dorchester, and the raging, wounded inner self who chastised the values of the world he inhabited.

About the books, Tomalin writes:  ” …  the Hardy who moved between his London club, visits to distinguished friends and a home well staffed with servants is not easy to connect with them.”

Paul Fussell, whose The Great War and Modern Memory self re-read just a few weeks ago (The first time was in grad school at Stanford, under the great Prof. Albert Guerard, and she hung on to her grad school copy —  the margins are filled with self’s annotations, OMG), begins his book by talking about how Hardy’s writerly attitude seemed to presage the modern mind-set (bleakness, anomie, and so forth) that World War I ushered in.  So, even though this biography of Thomas Hardy does not rise to the greatness of Tomalin’s previous Samuel Pepys:  The Unequalled Self, it is nevertheless fascinating.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

More Crazy-Making Stuff

Today is the second Monday of August 2010. Self is currently watching “The Crazies” (for the 2nd time). This time, she notes small details: such as that the population of Ogden Township, whose sheriff is Timothy Olyphant, is 1,268. Now, how does a town that small get to have a sheriff like Timothy Olyphant? Seeing as he’s such a crack shot, so quick on the draw, that in the opening minutes he shoots and kills a crazy man who crashes a baseball game with a loaded rifle, after all! And his wife, the town doctor, played by Radha Mitchell, wears very pointy, high-heeled pumps, as if she were a doctor in some big city, not Ogden Township.

Anyhoo, it has been one crrraaazy day! For one thing, self has discovered that:

  • There is a leak in her water bucket. The one she’s been using for at least a decade. A big leak. Oh, self is sad, so unreasonably sad, she feels as if she is losing a great friend.
  • She is still further away from ending her novel than she thought. ‘Nuff said.
  • San Miguel’s Gold Label “Mellorine” ice cream (macapuno with ube ripple), which she bought from Marina Foods last Saturday, has very very little ube. Which is a drag to discover after you’ve nearly dug to the very bottom of the ice cream container. But, it goes really really well with Laguna Brand “Coconut Sport” (Macapuno), also purchased from Marina Mart last Saturday.
  • Son has been awarded a Minority Fellowship from Claremont Graduate University. Which means an award of $10,000 for his first-year tuition. Oh, thank God, thank God.
  • Self is apparently driving down to San Luis Obispo this Saturday. And bunking with son and his house-mates because, in absence of teaching assignments this September (and also untold unsuccessful grant applications), she has no money for lodging.  Or, as she gamely put it to son this afternoon, she’d rather give him $120 than pay for the Comfort Inn. Therefore, self had to ask son if she could sleep on his living room couch, and she hoped his room-mates wouldn’t mind. Son offered to have her in one of his roommates’ rooms (Of course, the roommate is out of town — BWAH. HA. HAAAA!), but at the thought of lying in a bed usually occupied by a twenty-something male, self was quite, ah — hesitant. She’ll bring a sleeping bag. Or whatever. Purpose of the trip is so she can check up on son — Ooops! No, what she meant was: purpose of the trip is to cart back some of the things son is not going to need in Claremont, thereby saving him from paying storage costs. Hubby has demurred from accompanying self as he is so “tired” after working in the office all week.

Self thinks this would be the perfect time to open another Negro Modelo.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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