Sunday, November 6, 2011

Reading Log

The last couple weeks I’ve been immersed in work-related stuff and haven’t managed to read much. My wife and I went to see a local production of the single-act play, “The Interview,” by Peter Swet, and we will be going to see Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” this next weekend. Local and inexpensive productions.

Sisters touched a nerve—hope for the future despite the endless fading of future into present. How dangerous and pointless it is to look to some vaguely defined future happiness just waiting “over there.” If we approach life that way, it will never fail to disappoint.

Something else on my mind, something that is expressed very well by Harold Bloom in his Preface to How to Read and Why:

Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you, because it is, at least in my experience, the most healing of pleasures. It returns you to otherness, whether in yourself or in friends, or in those who may become friends. Imaginative literature is otherness, and as such alleviates loneliness. We read not only because we cannot know enough people, but because friendship is so vulnerable, so likely to diminish or disappear, overcome by space, time, imperfect sympathies, and all the sorrows of familial and passional life.

The difficulty of communicating at a personal level is constantly on my mind. If lucky you learn to communicate with your spouse, and with—at most—a couple friends. Beyond that is a fog of half-measures, tentative approaches, and well-intentioned dishonesty. Perhaps it is no wonder that we make alliances over trivialities—they are rarely to be found in what is most important.

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