Table-talk of Parkus Grammaticus for March 25, 2008
I. Two quotes—
Ultimately I was removed from Buffalo, but the stages of my breakdown have a montage-like quality to them, and by now they’re mixed up with what I have dreamed.
—Charles Baxter, The Soul Thief
Anthony Powell wouldn't do, while Michael Moorcock became a friend....
—Karl Miller, "Duty and the Drink," review of J.G. Ballard's Miracles of Life, TLS
II. Lots of action on the Personal Days blog! I deliberately chose the most antiseptic-looking Blogger template, but what does it mean that I find it very warm now? (Thanks to Dizzyhead Jen for co-blogging there with me.)
III. Janet Maslin on Jodi Picoult:
What if a bad man murdered a nice woman’s husband? What if he killed her daughter too? What if she had another daughter? What if 11 years later, as the date for the bad man’s execution approached, the second daughter needed a new heart?I kind of wish the whole piece was composed of questions—didn't Lester Bangs have a piece in which every sentence ended in an exclamation point? (Via Light Reading)
What if the bad man wanted to make amends with an organ transplant? What if he wanted to give his bad heart to the innocent child? As Ms. Picoult puts it, in the bold, high-concept idiom of movie ads: “Would you want your dreams to come true if it meant granting your enemy’s dying wish?”
Let’s put it another way: If you were that mother, would it take you 447 pages to make up your mind?
IV. I love this Paul Collins piece on How to Do Nothing With Nobody All Alone By Yourself, in the latest Tin House:
A step-by-step guide to grinding oyster shells against the front stoop for no damn reason, to turning buttons and string into buzzsaws that won't cut anything, and to making paper boomerangs that don't come back, Nothing is about what you do when you're nine years old and have neither money nor anyone paying much attention to you, and where your one guiding principle is that you avoid grown-ups and don't ask for help....
V. And finally—it wouldn't be a "Table-Talk" without your daily Ouroboros. This one's from Dizzyhead Khong, who helpfully IDs the critter as an "armadillo lizard"; according to this site, "They bite on their tail and roll themselves into a ball when threatened."