Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Four Owls

I am under no obligation to tell you this, but THE SONG OF THE LARK had four owls in it. The first, as we have seen, was dumbfounded by sunlight, which is excusable for an owl, I think. Another owl with eyesight problems comes next: "He stood still, blinking like an owl at their two heads shining in the sun." Okay! Next comes - and this will be a paraphrase, for I can't find the page - a guy telling another guy, "A man would have to be an owl to live like this, all alone." That's pretty close. I'm sure Willa Cather said it better. Finally, one character describes another in this manner: "as stupid as an owl and as coarse as a pig." Altogether, not a flattering portrait of owls in this book.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

In the Blaze of the Open Plain

As you well know, I don't "blog" anymore, unless I read a book with an owl in it, in which case it goes on my long list of books I have read with owls in them, which I keep for forgotten reasons. So the other day I picked up Willa Cather's THE SONG OF THE LARK from Square Books, because there is some interesting stuff about it in that Wagner book I was reading, which I also picked up from Square Books. That is the tricky thing about books! One book makes you read another book. It's a conspiracy and it never ends. Anyway: "In the blaze of the open plain she was stupid and blind like an owl."

Monday, September 06, 2021

Ghost Nap

Well, I decided to take a nap. And I was like, "I sure wish I had something to read while I drift off to sleep." You see, I'm reading a biography of Tom Stoppard right now, but it is too bulky for napping purposes. There is no way to get comfortable with it. Also, the last thing I read in it was the phrase "Her poems are moist and pulsating," which I suppose was meant to be a compliment, but filled me with a Cronenbergian sense of horror no doubt unintended by the author. So I checked out the bookcase next to my side of the bed and found an academic treatise on ghost sightings, which provided just what I was looking for, filled as it was with deadpan sentences of the type I enjoy, such as, "The obvious explanation for headless ghosts is that they represent those who had their heads chopped off." A few pages later, there is a quotation from an 18th-century man who thought he saw a ghost: "I perceived my hair to heave my hat from my head, and my teeth to chatter in my mouth." That gave me a chuckle! A hat popping off a head in fright was something I might have associated with the capering of Stan Laurel, but I never before read a claim that it had happened to an actual person in real life. Soothed by such imagery, I fell into a dreamless slumber.