Sunday, March 13, 2016

Literary Matters

It's time once more for "Literary Matters"! They are almost always pointless and these are especially so. 1. You know how every time I read a book with an owl in it, I feel compelled to add it to my big long list of books with owls in them. And yet sometimes, through no fault of my own, I hear about a book with an owl in it that I haven't even read! Such is my curse. Today I read in the New York Times about a book (FOR A LITTLE WHILE by Rick Bass) with a character named Gray Owl (see also). The reviewer loved the name Gray Owl so much that he or she mentioned it six times. SIX TIMES! In a 13-paragraph book review. Do the math! Do it! Now, I could've told you that a book by Rick Bass would have an owl in it. But now I'll never get to find out for myself. 2. One time I was at Lyn's house for dinner and boy was I loudly explaining the art of writing to a quiet, polite man who good-humoredly bore the brunt of my intellect. When Lyn's husband Doug was walking me to the gate, he told me that my lucky pupil had been Rick Bass. 3. Reading this Norman Mailer book about Lee Harvey Oswald, I discover that Oswald once gave a lecture on communism at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. I used to loiter around that very campus, and I never knew. I don't know why I loitered there, either. I did not attend classes there! I seem to recall that one night, past midnight, a bunch of us boys and girls piled into a very small car and went to the campus of Spring Hill College and roamed around. I think we looked at a statue of St. Ignatius! Boy did we know how to have fun. And there was some talk of a ghostly priest, and I said with highly successful theatricality, "Who's that right OVER THERE?" and a young woman screamed and dumped an entire icy Coke in my lap. But none of us knew that Lee Harvey Oswald had come there to give a lecture on communism on July 27, 1963. Or if anyone did, nobody brought it up.