Writing workshop, apartment-hunting, far too many plane rides over the course of three weeks– and just a bit of packing in the midst of it all. I mentioned earlier that, while packing books, I was feeling– but mostly resisting– the temptation to give into various volumes’ demands to READ ME NOW. Well, I succumbed, and David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life was well worth it. It had been on my shelf for years, probably neglected thanks to a cover that made it seem as if it were a second-rate novel published by an unmoneyed press. Just goes to show that that tired old warning about how not to judge a book has a great deal of truth to it– because in spite of its exterior crappiness, this novel contains some of the most excellently executed poetic prose I’ve come across since Anne Michaels’ stuff.
It was a nice contrast to Pascal’s Pensees, which I had to force myself to finish while trapped in those many aircraft. Maybe if I’d been around to read it when it first came out, I would have had a much more positively amazed reaction to the thing. As it was, I’d read too many secondary sources about the man and his thought, and when faced with the original, it just seemed tired and naive, not recognizing its own entrapment within a particular cultural milieu, a situation Pascal conveniently perceived in everyone else’s thought and traditions.
But I really shouldn’t criticize others right now for their lack of perception, given the fact that I’ve been up traveling, and navigating the mindboggling world of rentals since three this morning. Soon, dear readers, I’ll get back to my more clear-headed self and the more substantive thoughts I produced in days of yore. For now, though, sleep.