Monday, June 15, 2009

Shy letters.

Chapter 4 of East of Eden speaks of Charles' letters to Adam. Charles, a strong, perfectly athletic man of few words, broken by his father's love of Adam, writes to his brother off in the military. Steinbeck writes, "As with many people, Charles, who could not talk, wrote with fullness. He set down his loneliness and his perplexities, and he put on paper many things he did not know about himself."

I am drawn to people who home inside their heads. It is my hunger to understand maybe. Or my love of what is different and mystery. I hope I never fully understand them. I wonder if they understand me.
But I have seen this truth of Steinbeck's words before.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chapter 3.

The final moments of Chapter 3, of East of Eden... wrench my heart.  

Adam's mother, not his real mother, cleaning his wounds.  Inflicted by his brother Charles in a rage that his father loved Adam more.   And his mother speaks of Adam's never ending love for his brother.   The brother that beat him.  The brother that pitied him with love in his superior strength.  And yet their father loved Adam more.  More than the strong perfect son.  And the ache of the mother, believing that she 'knows' Charles because of his secret gifts.  And she stares at Charles' face for a betrayal of those gifts.  The ache. 

I only retell because it spills from my fingers, I cannot get enough.  

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Intro to Virginibus Puerisque:

My dear William Ernest Henley: 
We are all busy in this world building Towers of Babel; and the child of our imaginations is always a changeling when it comes from nurse.  This is not only true in the greatest, as of wars and folios, but in the least also, like the trifling volume in your hand. 
Thus I began to write these papers with a definite end... I was to state temperately the beliefs of youth as opposed to the contentions of age; to go over all the field where the two differ, and produce at last a little volume of special pleadings which I might call, without misnomer, "Life at Twenty-five."  But times kept changing, and I shared in the change.  I clung hard to that entrancing age; but, with the best will, no man can be twenty-five forever.  The old ruddy convictions deserted me, and, along with them, the style that fits their presentation and defense.   I saw, and indeed my friends informed me, that the game was up.  A good part of the volume would answer to the long-projected title; but the shadows of the prison-house are on the rest.  

It is good to have been young in youth, and, as years go on, to grow older.  Many are already old before they are through their teens; but to travel deliberately through one's ages is to get the heart out of a liberal education.  Times change, opinions vary to their opposite, and still this world appears a brave gymnasium, full of sea-bathing, and horse exercise, and bracing, many virtues; and what can be more encouraging than to find the friend who was welcome at one age, still welcome to another?  Our affections and beliefs are wiser than we; the best that is in us is better than we can understand; for it is grounded beyond experience, and guides us, blindfold but safe, from one age on to another.  
These papers are like milestones on the way-side of my life; and, as I look back in memory, there is hardly a stage of that distance but I see you present with advice, reproof, or praise.  Meanwhile, many things have changed, you and I among the rest; but I hope that our sympathy, founded on the love of our art, and nourished by mutual assistance, shall survive these little revolutions undiminished, and, with God's help, unite us to the end.


I am so grateful that, even at 26, I feel that I have friends for the journey.  - JJ

don't know who said it, wish it was me.

"If you just look at all that already exists in your life, all that you already have: unlimited air to breathe, ample lighting to see, music to hear, books to read, stars to dream by, trees to gaze at, floors to dance on, friends to laugh with, enemies to befriend, strangers to meet, woods to walk through, beaches to comb, rocks to scale, rains to cleanse you, rivers to float you, animals to comfort you, you do have to admit, there's more of it than you could ever, ever, ever spend, but try anyway."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

For Annie. by Edgar Allen Poe

My friend Margie put this on a present for our dear friend Geoff.  I just can't stop reading it. 

All that we see or seem 

Is but a dream within a dream. 
I stand amid the roar 
Of a surf-tormented shore, 
And I hold within my hand 
Grains of the golden sand — 
How few! yet how they creep 
Through my fingers to the deep, 

While I weep — while I weep! 
Oh, God! can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp? 
Oh, God! can I not save 
One from the pitiless wave? 
Is all that I see or seem 
But a dream within a dream?