Friday, June 30, 2006


No baby yet

Like a library book, date due: today. My sister has not delivered. Or been delivered. She works in central Maine but has many colleagues in this area who know that I am her sister (we look like twins, almost), so strangers on the street are asking me, daily, "She have that baby yet?" Every time the phone rings I wonder if this is The Call. I am distracting myself by stretching and gessoing many canvases, a time-consuming project, but one which I love because it allows me to feel very artistic, hardworking, and virtuous, without actually expending any creative energy. A neat trick.

I haven't been reading much lately - shocking, I know - but after Embers, a few Edith Wharton novels, The Great Gatsby, (re-read) and finally Tender is the Night, for the first time, I burned out on serious fiction. Wonderful but ultimately wrist-slitting fiction, I should say. I need a bit more joy. So I've been browsing in a few favorite art books, and delving into some poetry, specifically Kazantzakis's master work, The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel. Why? A friend recommended it as his favorite book. This is someone who reads, like I read, so I take his word seriously. And yes, it is worthy of his high praise. Here's a brief sample (p.37):

“O new-carved ship, you sang then like my warbling heart.
What joy to unfurl sail suddenly in the buffeting winds
and, scudding swiftly, shout farewell to your belovèd:
‘Much do I love and want you, dear, but let me first
mount on my plunging ship, pay out my billowing sails,
as with one hand I hold the tiller for open seas
and with the other wipe departure’s tears away.’”

I don't know if I'll be able to sit and read it straight through, it's simply immense, but with passages like this I will keep it in my backpack for the summer, and take it out whenever I'm sitting on a rocky outcropping by the sea, staring down the infinite.

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