Finally, the Good Stuff — The Very, Very Good Stuff

William Maxwell’s novella So Long, See You Tomorrow has kept self pre-occupied (that and writing fan fiction) since Dec. 7 (For the record, self notes all her “book start times” onto a log, just like a ship’s log — BWAH HA HAAA!).

This is kinda surprising as it’s a very short book (134 pages).

But, here’s the really good, exciting stuff, finally, on p. 116:

SPOILER ALERT!

“You’re too young to know your own mind,” he said. “On the other hand she wasn’t too young to have fallen in love with a man with a wife and two children. “I won’t have you breaking up somebody’s home!” he shouted. And she said — even as the words came out of her mouth she regretted them — she said, “You’re not my father and I won’t have you or anybody else telling me what I can or can’t do.” So he locked her in her room, and she climbed out the window onto the roof of the back porch and slid down the drainpipe. He knew what was happening but didn’t stir from his chair.

All of this takes place out in the stillness of deep countryside in America. That is, rural Illinois. Clearly, messy emotions erupt everywhere. Not just among city dwellers and the like. But even among farmers and the like.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

How Did Self Get Here?

She took a summer course in Creative Writing from John L’Heureux. He told her he thought she should apply to the Creative Writing Program. Because she was out of ideas about what to do with her life (Her ideas only carried her as far as six months into the future), she dutifully applied. She got in. She had no idea she’d spend the next two years sitting around a table with 11 other people, talking about each other’s writing as if it married. No idea that writing, at least in America, was considered very hard work. She didn’t know why her fellow fellows spent so much time in Antonio’s Nut House on California Avenue.

She didn’t know that the tall skinny lad with the piercing green eyes who was called Read the rest of this entry »

“Loves: The City” by Pablo Neruda

Dear blog readers, when self was in Venice Beach, a month ago, the poet Angela Narciso Torres took her to a fabulous bookstore called Small World Books, on Ocean Front Walk.

The sun was shining, a man whose worldly goods were piled next to him on the beach gestured to the ocean and said to self: “See all that water? I’m going to turn it into wine.”

The Venice Beach pier is lined with quotes of poetry (on small wooden signs affixed to the handrails), and two of them are by Pablo Neruda.

In honor of the place and the poet, here’s a poem from Neruda’s Intimacies: Poems of Love, translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reid (HarperCollins 2008)

An Excerpt from Loves: The City

by Pablo Neruda

Student love igniting with October,
with cherry trees on fire in the poor streets
and the trams screeching round the corners,
girls like water, bodies
in the raw earth of Chile, mud and snow,
and light and the black night, reunited,
honeysuckle tumbled on the bed
with Rosa or Lina or Carmen naked there,
stripped, perhaps, of their mysteries,
else mysterious as they tangled
in the embrace, spiral or tower,
or the storm of mouths and jasmine.
Did it turn into yesterday or tomorrow,
that fleeting spring? Oh, the rhythm
of that electric waist

Swoon.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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