Sunday, September 9, 2012

PLUS C'EST LA

Quiet from me, I know. Surfing a few of those emotional waves, but mostly I have been trying to move forward on things, or being ... well ... quiet. Which is only to reassure you all that I am not in a terrible mental attitude.

I was back in Brooklyn for a couple of days, catching up with some business, seeing some friends, catsitting Tupelo while John and Mel went to a wedding in Rhode Island. I came back this afternoon to ease back into this life so that I would be ready to apply myself to the myriad of things that need my attention here. Cooder and Emmy, as well as M and J were welcoming. Emmy slept on the couch next to me this evening as we three watched the 60 Minutes episode about the killing off of Osama bin Laden. This was the first time she has settled down next to me in this way. Can the transition to lap cat be far away?

I had a few minutes here and there this afternoon to read a few of the reviews in the Sunday Times Book Review. I particularly related to this quote from an article about Paul Auster's new memoir, Winter Journal:

"Some memories are so strange to you, so unlikely, so outside the realm of the plausible, that you find it difficult to reconcile them with the fact that  you are the person who experienced the events you are remembering."

That begins to address the weirdness I often feel about things I have done, opportunities I have had, possibilities I have passed by. I've been trying to make sense of my life. Turns out others have questions about their lives, too.

I've also been reading quite a bit. I made it all the way through Shari Benstock's biography of Edith Wharton, No Gifts from Chance (461 pages of text and quite a bit of it referencing EW's health and travel). I did get into the minutae at some point and was interested in EW's milieu enough to track down a book or two hitherto not interesting to me, starting with Logan Pearsall Smith's memoir, Unforgotten Years, largely written while on an Aegean cruise with EW.

 EW is quoted as having asked this question during WWI,

"How much longer are we going to think it necessary to be 'American' before (or in contradistinction to) being cultivated, being enlightened, being humane, and having the same intellectual discipline as other civilized countries? It is really too easy a disguise for our shortcomings to dress them up as a form of patriotism."

This ties in as we all just went through two weeks of political conventions.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

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