Still Bloggered

23 January 2011

By the name. The more I grow accustomed to this new art form, the more attached to it I become, the more convinced I am that it needs a new name.
I pledge to you, the sands shall not run out on this year without us having come up with a better name.
What I have realized — late to the party I’m sure — is that this is really the Op Ed of the Everyman. It is the essence of Freedom. Freedom from having to drag ourselves through the predictable Op Eds of the NYT or Washington Post where we know the players by heart — Brooks, liberal, Will, conservative — and hear from the people.
Think about the power of the word “Freedom”.
Think about when, in a stroke of partisan genius, someone replaced the word “French” with “Freedom”.
The earth groaned as, to a spud, the potatoes of Maine and Idaho rose and shook the earth from their eyes and cried: “Free At Last! Free At Last! Good God Almighty, We’re Free At Last!”
And then: Into the Grease vats with you!
I have shared with you my fascination with “El Quijote” and the ererie parallels between quotidian life today and the world of Cervantes over 400 years ago, especially the troubling durability of pirates.
I am also reading another obscure writer, Malcolm Lowry. I first read Under the Volcano, his masterpiece, while trapped on a train from Hicksville into NYC during a blizzard in 1973. No better book to be trapped in a blizzard with. Lowry lived a scant 46 years on this earth, and live hard he did, spending as much time on the business end of a gin bottle as with pen in hand. I read him because he belongs that rare category of writers who can get away with no “narrative arc” -Sartre in La Nausee (“Things are bad! Very bad!”),Donleavy in The Ginger Man and Kingsley Amis in Lucky Jim, and of course the master of “is this thing going anywhere?”, Faukner in Absalom! Absalom! where he pulls in all together in the last sentence — but we don’t (at least I don’t) care. It’s enough to live in their heads for 300 pages.
Warning: Lowry deals in what my third grade grammar teacher called “run on sentences”. On average, each sentence has 15 commas. It’s almost impossible to believe he and Ernesto were contemporaries.
I also feel a bond to Lowry because FINCA Mexico is headquartered in Cuernavaca, where Lowry lived in the long shadow of el volcan Popacatepetal. I have searched for his house (and there is a B & B that lays claim to it, but I have my doubts), and one morning took a walk up a steep winding calle to a stunning view of the volcano itself. The town is also noted for a deep ravine which cuts through its center, serving as the inspiration for the barranca that swallows Lowry’s protagonist in the end.
Speaking of that man on the camel. Chris, were you referring to the German opera composer of Hansel and Gretal, or to George Dorsey, born to Mervyn and Olive in the mid 30s in what is today Chennai, India? Either way, Bzzzzzzt!
The purse goes to Patrick, of course. But, since Patrick is an employee of FINCA, and the fine print clearly reads “families and employees cannot participate”, then we’ll just have to keep that dollar warm until the next contest.

Rupert Scofield


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