My mom, Pynchon, and me

So, this past summer I finally started reading Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon. Then my mom began her chemo treatment. So, I read this book when I waited for my mom to finish her session, and I read pages of it when I was at home with her afterward while she slept through the afternoon.

When my mom passed, I told Jess I couldn’t bring myself to pick up the book again.

Jess said, “Your mother would have wanted you to finish what you enjoy.”

In September, I picked up Against the Day once more and kept on reading it. Today, just now, after 1,085 pages, I am finished. And on the last page I read this line:

“For every wish to come true would mean that in the known Creation, good unsought and uncompensated would have evolved somehow, to become at least more accessible to us.”

I am not sure why this line reminds me of my mom. The truth is, she would haves disliked Pynchon’s work; for ‘hate,’ as she reminded me the older we both became, was such a strong word. Be that as it may, I would say that wishes are accessible; if only to remind us that grace does exist in the world; the remnants of which, though the people we love eventually leave this world, remain with us; a light not our own that affixes itself to our hearts, and becomes a part of us so that we may pass it on when we go.

Pulling Books: A Reader’s Prompt

I’ve been thinking about some writing prompts I’ve come across lately and they have all been quite good. What I never see posted are reading prompts as a way to entice people to read something that they generally would not think to. 

So, what would be a good formula? If you engage in social media then you may be familiar with the way it works. “Pick a book from your shelf, turn to page 105, the second paragraph, and the fourth sentence. Copy it down and post it as your status.” Or something to that effect. This time out we’ll make it simple. I’ll pick five books in my possession and copy down a sentence from somewhere in the middle.

Ready? Here we go:

1.I would say that a poem worth defending needs no defense and a poem needing defense is not worth defending.

~Robert Francis, from his essay ‘Four Pot Shots at Poetry’ in Written in Water, Written in Stone: Twenty Years of Poets on Poetry

2. It is our ignorance which makes us think that our self, as self, is real, that it has its complete meaning in itself.

~Rabindranath Tagore, from Sadhana: The Realisation of Life

3.Some types one comes across can’t seem to cut their way through any problem, and that does make things difficult.

~Natalie Babbitt, from Tuck Everlasting

4. He had the deep-rooted fear of going barefoot that all Sinaloan gentlemen harbored: if you were barefoot, you were a pauper or an Indian.

~Luis Alberto Urrea, from Queen of America

5. When the voices rose to a din, Josiah had to flee the house and wander into the forest, or tramp along back roads; his nerves were so tightly strung, he could not bear the company of other people; he had ceased seeing, or even speaking with, his male friends at Princeton, who had ceased trying to contact him after numerous rebuffs.

~Joyce Carol Oates, from The Accursed

Not so bad, huh?

Leave me a reading prompt. Maybe you can entice me to read something that I would have never thought to read. 

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If happiness is the absence of fever then I will never know happiness. For I am posessed by a fever for knowledge, experience and creation.

Anais Nin