Thursday, April 15, 2010

An Explanation

A few days ago I open up this blog in order to send a new friend a link to it and was surprised to find new "followers" I will take advice on whether the quotations are correct in this context. This is a pleasant surprise, and makes me feel badly that I've been so negligent about making posts over the last months. A number of factors have been contributing, not the least a large increase in the difficulty I experience typing, these resulting from the neuropathy that I developed a few years ago. It seems that the nerves are not carrying the signals from my brain to my hands at the same speed, left and right. I sometime have to try two or three times to coordinate the cap shift with the intended letter. It has been very frustrating. I am getting around it however, and hope to be more communicative. Posting photos and poems is a way to get around that ofcourse so I will not make excuses, but try to be more attentive. Someone asked me a few weeks ago if I was a famous poet, I responded that yes, very famous, but only amongst a group of five people. Now I find the group is extended to eight, and I've been ignoring the possibilities. Mea Culpa!

What have I been doing all this time? I've been working on building projects at Emmanuel Church and reading Sir Walter Scott.

Every one asks why Scott? The answer is simply that other authors refer to him so frequently that it seemed like a sensible idea to familiarize myself with his writings. This intention received a solid push when I discovered a copy of "Guy Mannering" at a recent Boston Public Library book sale. While I was paying my dollar for it the librarian said wistfully,"Ah yes, Scott, ahhh, Guy Mannering, so dear, my favorite!

It turns out that picking favorites is very difficult. I struggled with the dialect in Guy Mannering, became completely hooked, and promptly decided that if one was going to struggle with the dialect and the vocabulary one had best get on with reading them all at once; which I have, pretty much. I'm reading all of the Waverly novels, in order as well as I can manage that, and am now up to "Woodstock," number 22 of 26.

The remark was made the other day that I must be some kind of masochist to attempt such a thing, but the truth is that they are all amazingly compelling, enormously interesting, and great fun to read. Taken as a whole they are an astounding accomplishment, and each is fresh and new and unique. I can't put them down which is something to say when reading the twenty second novel by the same author in the space of five months. There is no repeat of plot, or characters. There lurk surprises at every turn, and one can see very clearly the source of much in Dickens, Thackeray, Elliot, and Trollope. One also finds bizarre and convoluted premises for the tales- one person relating it to another who writes a memoir that gets read by a neighboring antiquary who tells us this story.... and heros who are ambivalent and blown by fate one way or another, bad guys who turn out to be essentially good and good guys who are motivated by evil, it's almost post modern.

I'll try to be better about sharing all this, but to be honest, until I'm finished, I just can't put them down!


1 comment:

saratbaker said...

I love finding an author and "diving in". Last summer it was Elizabeth Bowen, the mid-century Irish writer, for me. I left one of her books on the beach when I had my accident and now am trying to find a copy to finish the story! Now I'm reading War and Peace, which seems somehow contemporary if you ignore the costumes....