Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Evanston: fallen women and a rat; article added; a quote; homeless

         I finished ANNA KARENINA for the third and I expect last time and enjoyed it almost thoroughly.  The ‘almost’ is the last thirty-seven pages in which one of the characters undergoes a spiritual revival.  Tolstoy was given to religious mysticism.  I am not.  He makes a good case against reason, but not a good case for any substitute.
        To me the novel would be perfect if it ended at Part 8, Chapter 5 with the volunteers on the train to join the Serbs.
        One fallen woman leads to another, or so many young men hope.  I note in passing that the very expression ‘fallen woman’ is a prudish, hypocritical conceit.  Men who engage in sex outside of marriage have seldom been been called ‘fallen.’  Still, Anna led me to the other most famous fallen woman of Nineteenth Century literature, Madame Bovary, which I also have read twice in the distant past and am just starting again.  
        Several movie versions of the novel have been made.   
        This past weekend we watched on Netflix the 2014 film directed by Sophie Barthes with Mia Wasikowska in the title role.  The movie didn’t get good reviews, but I thought it well done and we enjoyed it.

        The rat is actually a rat, a mole, a badger, a toad, an otter and several field mice, plus assorted weasels and stoats, all of whom populate Kenneth Grahame’s THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, an almost miraculous book in that through it may have been written for children, an old man can read it with pleasure and this one just did.  As a writer I found myself considering sentences and vocabulary in an attempt to understand how Grahame could appeal to those seven decades apart.  Other than that he did not condescend to children, I did not come up with an answer.  Of the book, I was charmed.
        My Kindle edition came with illustrations.  
        The one above is of Rat and Mole.  This of Toad in prison, an episode that I did not remember.


         I also added a quote to the Wit page.  On Michael’s site I noticed it attributed to me.  While I agree with the sentiment I didn’t remember writing it.  That is not unusual.  I’ve been writing for a long time and I’m old.  There must now be more than a million words in this journal alone.  I wrote to Michael who replied that I wrote this in an email to him.  
        This is the fourth addition to the wit page this year, another of which was brought to my attention by a reader.
        Add to those four my acceptance speech and ‘A Slice of Life’, whose title came from Steve Earley—I’m starting to collaborate—and this has been a good literary year.  I really may not yet be used up.
        The quote:
        It is good to try to do something that you are not certain you can accomplish.  That you even try is rare.
        When I wrote that the 'you' was singular and Michael, but it can be plural and general.

        I did not read ‘Déjà Vu All Over Again’ all the way through before I uploaded it, but I did notice the ending:

        I looked ashore at our condo behind oak trees and Spanish moss.
        GANNET was home.  She has never really had a home port.  Now she does.

        Well, perhaps not.