Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Literary Matters

I hate to tell you this but it is time for "Literary Matters" again. I am going to jazz them up by using ROMAN NUMERALS this time! It won't help. I'll also give each section a title. Oh boy! I. I HATE BOOKS. I walked into Square Books and started griping to Cody and Slade about books. Oh how I hate them! Such was the content of my monologue. They knew where I was coming from! They humored me. They egged me on! Think about it from their point of view! Surrounded by books all day! Detestable books! Was I joking? Hmm. Sometimes I just walk into a bookstore and get overwhelmed. "Do I want to contribute to THIS?" I shouted, gesturing wildly at all the books. I forgot to eat today. II. SMALL, DECORATIVE BOOKS. Then Katelyn arrived for work and she was in a good mood! It was cloudy and cooler out, which contributed to her upbeat outlook. At first she was a calming presence. But then we discussed the trend - is it a trend? - of small, decorative books. There was one by the register about the size of a postcard. It's by Hemingway. It's about camping. I picked it up and I swear it was six pages long. With huge letters! Who is buying these six-page books? "We sell a lot of them," I was told about this particular item. And there I was, getting enraged by life again! But Katelyn showed me a small, decorative book about rats. It was about 100 pages and could reasonably be called a book. It was pleasant to see and hold. My breathing steadied. Katelyn said that Carla had been really excited about it, but then she started reading it (Carla did) and became downcast with the dawning realization that the book was anti-rat. III. FAILED SERVICE DOG. At some point, Katelyn used the phrase "failed service dog" which I thought might be a good title for something. Maybe the magazine that Katelyn and I decided to start. It is a magazine in the form of a bar of soap! I know you think it won't work but we figured it out. IV. SPEAKING OF MAGAZINES. Katelyn has just had her very first short story published. It's in the literary magazine COLUMBIA. That's a good one! I bought a copy. You can get your own at Off Square Books. V. ANJELICA HUSTON. I went upstairs and sat in a chair and looked to see if Anjelica Huston's autobiography had Jerry Lewis in the index. You are aware of this compulsion of mine, I trust. But there was no index! My forthcoming nonfiction cigarette lighter book has an index, pal! (Hmm, it might be a small, decorative book.) And does it have Jerry Lewis in it? Look for yourself:
Well, I flipped through Anjelica Huston's autobiography and it seemed to have some pretty good stories in it but I felt about it the way I felt about Martin Short's autobiography: I would look through it in a bookstore but I don't think I would buy it. And reader, I didn't. VI. THE CHAIRS OF SQUARE BOOKS. My favorite chair at Square Books has the unfortunate liability of being almost in the path to the bathroom. When you sit in my favorite chair you cannot help but notice how many scoundrels are misusing Square Books just for the toilets it thoughtfully provides. I'm watching you, miscreants! And yet who am I to talk, blithely stealing Anjelica Huston's memories? Pendleton Ward has his own favorite chair at Square Books. Last time he came to town he fantasized about having a gold chain installed around it, and a sign indicating that it was reserved for his personal use. Why, he could sit in that chair thinking and dozing and drawing and writing all day! I've seen him do it! VII. A MOUTH THAT IS KISSED. Still reading THE DECAMERON. I pick it up and put it down. There's lots of stuff like "the merchant and the lady slept together in a very small bed; because of this, something happened that was not intended to happen by either one of them" - ha ha! But wherefore do I ha ha? Because that same story ended with a touching moral: "A mouth that is kissed loses no flavor, but, like the moon, is renewed." I thought that was pretty. Maybe I didn't entirely get it. In the next chapter, everyone is having "a good laugh" over those very words! Maybe it's a hilarious joke.