Contrasting with the global situation of isolation and fear, my 2020 is quite a good one. One of the good things that happened to me are these thoughts thar started coming to my head and forming into something like a free verse poetry. I already wrote a few and I think it’s time for me to share them.
I don’t regard my poems as something substantial. I look at them more as a couple of lines I had to write in order to get to two or three sentence that describe who i am and what i feel the best. So here is one of my favorite poems titled “september” in which I hope you will find the few sentences out of many that are the center of what’s been inspiring me lately.
september is my favorite month of all i’ve said this hundreds of times to my mates and babes but no one ever blinked an eye until that evening on september 6th when i sat on your couch for the very first time talking about pulp fiction and shit while scrolling through your instagram feed looking at your 2019 fall pics and as i looked at the pictures of your city covered in golden light and leaves i exclaimed: “september is my favorite month” and then the greenness of your eyes crossed the blueness of mine and you asked me the sweetest “why”. then i gave you a generic explanation but at the same time the softest one i ever did because in the extreme of times like this where everyone would rather say that september is the cruelest month of all i found you, your green eyes and warm couch and it was enough to make me thinK that after all this doom and gloom september’s still my favorite month of all
When I read a book that is exceptionally good I always try to define what makes it so different than the other novels. Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian” is one of those books that made me think about why I like it so much better than the rest of the books in my personal library.
Thinking about that, I came up with this theory:
History books seem to be studying the history in a way that makes us perceive the past events as a sequence of images, a film, a fiction that started and ended before we were born. And now we live somehow disconnected on an existential level from this events. After getting out of high school most of the people won’t be joining history classes ever again. For them everything that has been learned from history remains in their heads as a myth, a concise explanation of the world before them. At least that’s how I felt. I guess most of the people do too.
The way of the world is to bloom and to flower and die but in the affairs of men there is no waning and the noon of his expression signals the onset of night. His spirit is exhausted at the peak of its achievement. His meridian is at once his darkening and the evening of his day.
Reading “Blood Meridian” is extremely enlightening experience. It is a book that for the first time since high school made me rethink the events of the history It made me grasp the reflection of these even on the modern world and make me wonder where I want to go tomorrow. Not as an individual, but as a part of a collective, the collective of human kind.
“Blood Meridian” follows the stories of couple of characters. They are moving constantly from point A to point B to point C, etc. in the hear of America. At a certain point I started to perceive this movement not so much as a physical one, but as a metamorphic journey through the pages of history. I love it when an author gives you the right to choose how to interpret history. Cormac McCarthy does this with “Blood Meridian”.
Aside of the fact that “Blood Meridian” is a book that tell’s the history of the world in a new way, it is non the less a book that is built over the concept of the enemy. This concept let me to some very interesting questions, that I’d really like to find other reads to explore additionally. If the evolution of our species, accompanied by violence for survival, has a deep imprint on our DNA, can this explain the path the humanity took on over the ages? Is survival the one and only explanation of the bad things the human kind did? Can we learn from our behavior and not repeat it?
The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning.
Somewhere on the internet I read that someone defines McCarthy’s style as a neo-biblical rhetoric. Kill me if I know what this means. However, after finish this novel I have an idea: today we all share a common perception of the biblical mythology, written 2000 years ago. We are all aware of the myths of Moses, the Savior, the Ressurection, etc. And these myths has shaped much of the modern society as we know it. “Blood Meridian” is a book that I imagine after another 2000 years would be the source that will shape the people of the future’s perception about today’s history. I’d really like to be alive then to see what kind of society the future will shape. Maybe this is the neo-biblical rhetoric. Who knows.
According to Wikipedia “tour-de-force” is an achievement done with extraordinary mastery; a feat with a turning point and something that was not expected. William Faulkner himself chooses to define “As I Lay Dying” that way. In the introduction to his novel “The Sanctuary” (1932 edition of Modern Library), William Faulkner writes”I wrote As I Lay Dying in six weeks, without changing a word.”
“As I Lay Dying” is a story told through the voices of its characters, their thoughts and their inner monologue. In terms of style the book resembles “The Sound and the fury” – the only other Faulkner novel I had read before “As I Lay Dying”.
The writing style is not the only common thing between the two novels. They also share a common atmosphere – the American South, the characters in both books are members of a big family and the issues that are being discussed are also common – poverty, religion, dignity, conflict between duty and desire, between words and action.
One of the main differences between the traditional literature and the modernist novel is the description. Usually when reading a traditional fiction the reader receives a direct description of the setting, characters, atmosphere, etc. But when it comes to modernist fiction, the reader usually gets this information through the thoughts of the characters. This sometimes makes the book not so easy to be understood, especially when it is written from the point of view of a slowly developing man who accepts the events of the past 30 years as events that have occurred in the frame of 1 single day (“The Sound And The Fury”).
The sun, an hour above the horizon, is poised like a bloody egg upon a crest of thunderheads; the light has turned copper: in the eye portentous, in the nose sulphurous, smelling of lightning.
Faulkner is a very good painter with words even when he does not do it traditionally. The viewpoints of his characters contain the chaos of thoughts, which represents the “flow of consciousness” and in this chaos are spread bits of images. It’s up to the reader to pay attention to those bits and put them together in a bigger picture. This side of Faulkner’s writing helped me explore my own thinking process. By the time I turned the last page of the novel, I had completely overcome the unconventional narration and felt totally immersed in the world of his writing.
Don’t think that everything in “As I Lay Dying” is supposed to be a challenge to the reader, because it’s not. The book has a beginning and and end. The whole story is in the frame of a journey that starts with its cause and ends with the final destination. This structure definitely helped me follow what’s happening amidst the chaos of the characters’ thoughts and their inner monologues.
That’s the one trouble with this country: everything, weather, all, hangs on too long. Like our rivers, our land: opaque, slow, violent; shaping and creating the life of man in its implacable and brooding image.
A major highlight in “As I Lay Dying” is the discussion of questions such as identity and existence. Those are issues that accompany the transition of the American South between two eras – from the Civil War to the modern age. A period that represents a constant struggle for preservation human values such as dignity and pride.
That was when I learned that words are no good; that words dont ever fit even what they are trying to say at. When he was born I knew that motherhood was invented by someone who had to have a word for it because the ones that had the children didn’t care whether there was a word for it or not. I knew that fear was invented by someone that had never had the fear; pride, who never had the pride.
In his preface to “The Sanctuary,” in 1932, Faulkner writer about “As I Lay Dying”:
Before grabbing the pen and writing the first word of the novel, I knew what the last word would be and where I would put the last punctuation point. Before I started, I thought I would write a book that I would be happy with, even if I never write a book again.
Are you planning to find out by yourself what the last word of “As I Lay Dying” is? Share in the comments.
Featured image: Spirit Of America Painting by Michael Humphries
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