Wednesday, November 27, 2013


no thank you

Meditations on thankfulness abound this week, as usual, and I hesitate to risk adding to the heap of platitudes floating around out there.  But I am still recovering from a cold, my family is scattered hither and yon, and so I will be staying in this Thanksgiving.  I feel very grateful to be able to remain quietly at home.  And I don't mind saying so.  No travel, no cooking besides that which we do for ourselves (oh, but there will be pie, make no mistake), no shopping, no interaction with beloved relatives fractious and otherwise.  I think on so-called black Friday I will stay in and read, and snack (again with the pie).  I am beyond grateful to have time to do this in my very own life. 

Which reminds me of one more bit from E.M. Forster's Commonplace Book, written after he'd taken a few pages of notes from Dryden's Epistles (p.27):

"Reading these Epistles which have no connection with my work and little with my ideas, have (sic) given me a happy sense of my own leisure.  Who has the necessary time and vacancy of mind to read Dryden's Epistles for pleasure in 1927? or to copy out extracts from them into a Commonplace Book?  Or to write out more often than is necessary the words: Dryden, Epistles, Dryden's Epistles?  No one but me and perhaps Siegfried Sassoon."

Who has the time in 2013 to do likewise?  Well, I copied this passage into my own journal, and I copy it here too - as a small banner waving, as a symbol of the pleasure of reading for its own sake, as a reminder to take time to do whatever your heart desires, if you possibly can.  Speaking of E.M. Forster again, I thought of asking Santa for his recently published Journals and Diaries (Pickering & Chatto 2011).  I am still searching for something all-encompassing for my winter reading project, and thought this might be it, but holy crackers, at nearly $500 retail for the three-volume set, I must say no thank you.

Which brings me to my only scrap of holiday advice this year: don't forget to say no, when you need to.  The sky will not fall.  Blessings on you, whether you are at home or far afield. 

This is well said.

While I have already celebrated Thanksgiving (I'm Canadian, and we do it a month earlier up here), I remain thankful to have found your blog.

Best regards,

Amen to the above comment.
You know Sarah which is my "small banner, my reminder..", don't you?
By the way there is an excellent correspondence volume (in Greek) between Ε.Μ.Forster and the poet K. Cavafy ( also in English I think.
Thank you, Andrew - lovely to meet you and get a glimpse of your own commonplace book!

Antony, I could surmise...

I have Cavafy's collected poems, and a small selected poems too, but didn't know about his friendship with Forster until I read about Forster's time in Alexandria during the war. More letters, thank you for telling me. They are available in English, as of a few years ago.
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