The Underground Railroad

From Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer prize-winning #novel.

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What did you get for that, for knowing the day you were born into the white man’s world? It didn’t seem like the thing to remember. More like to forget.

Cora… fell asleep.. sometimes so quickly she was like a candle being blown out.

“That evil soaks into the soil. Some say it steeps and gets stronger.”

The man moved with exquisite calm, like a leaf drifting on the surface of a pond, making its own way on gentle currents.

Sometimes a useful delusion is better than a useless truth.

 

Good #Words Well Written

Thank you Garth Greenwell  (What Belongs To You) for words and sentences like these….

“Love isn’t a matter of looking at someone, I think now, but also of looking with them, of facing what they face….”

“… I never felt it would summon the person I wanted him to be with me.”

“What would it mean to do enough, I wondered, as I had wondered before about that obligation to others that sometimes seems so clear and sometimes disappears altogether , so that now we owe nothing, anything we give is too much, and now our debt is beyond all counting.”

What Belongs to You

Specific (meaning true) #writing in Garth Greenwell’s novel What Belongs to You.

The following passages are from the narrator’s nervous visit to a health clinic: 

“… the kind of doctorly banter I hated most, a chummy preliminary to unpleasantness.”

“…. the stock visual language of medical admonishment and reassurance.”

“I grew up at the height of the AIDS panic, when desire and disease seemed essentially bound together…. Disease was the only story anyone ever told about men like me where I was from, and it flattened my life to a morality tale, in which I could be either chaste or condemned. …when I finally did have sex, it wasn’t so much pleasure I sought as the exhilaration of setting aside restraint…”

The Author But Not the Title

#Authors I’ve heard of but not of these works….

Sherwood Anderson. “I Want to Know Why.” (story)

Stanley Kunitz. “Around Pastor Bonhoeffer”. (poem)

Richard Wilbur. “Love calls Us to the Things of This World”. (poem)

John Hawkes. The Lime Twig. (Novel. Never heard of him either.)

Thanks, David Shields. Again. [Other People: Takes & Mistakes].

 

No Matter the Category (the 100th post)

Started the latest David Shields book Other People: Takes and Mistakes. Guiltily, as I have Margaret Atwood’s Hag Seed half completed at home, and am also rifling through possible plays for next year’s school play. My tastes are catholic, as are my reading habits.

So hard to categorize Shields’s work. #Literary criticism? Cultural essays? I didn’t even know where to find him in the bookstore. (You don’t need to know this online, but in an old fashioned brick and mortar store, you do. I found the book under “Essays”.)

All I know is, his endless referencing of writers and their works makes me want to read them, as well as Shields himself.

I can’t say I necessarily want to read Shields more than once, but his nudging me to read someone or something he has mentioned makes me feel like I have.