RIP, Gabo.

RIP, Gabo.

I will be in mourning for the rest of my life. This man changed my life. He SAVED my life. I’ve said it before. I feel like I’ve lost a grandfather, someone I’ve known all my life. I have dreaded this day. RIP, Gabo. I’ll never stop reading your words.

I am devastated.

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November

“Powerful winds that crack the boughs of November! – and the bright calm sun, untouched by the furies of the earth, abandoning the earth to darkness, and wild forlornness, and night, as men shiver in their coats and hurry home. And then the lights of home glowing in those desolate deeps. There are the stars, though! – high and sparkling in a spiritual firmament. We will walk in the windsweeps, gloating in the envelopment of ourselves, seeking the sudden grinning intelligence of humanity below these abysmal beauties. Now the roaring midnight fury and the creaking of our hinges and windows, now the winder, now the understanding of the earth and our being on it: this drama of enigmas and double-depths and sorrows and grave joys, these human things in the elemental vastness of the windblown world.” – Jack Kerouac 

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For Kerouac

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“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”

Anyone who knows me, knows that The Beat Generation, and Kerouac in particular, are a huge part of what shaped me in my late teens and early 20s. For me, that era, those poets and writers, are a part of my soul. Sometimes when I’m reading Kerouac, it’s like he’s pulled my most personal feelings out of my heart and put them into words, in such a way that I never could. I find comfort in him and them, and they are the grandfathers I never had, my greatest teachers, my closest friends. This time of year I’m especially prone to them, so here’s a poem Kerouac wrote about my favorite month: October.

There’s something olden and golden and lost
In the strange ancestral light,
There’s something tender and loving and sad
In October’s copper might.

End of something, old, old, old…
Always missing, sad, sad, sad…
Saying something…love, love, love…

Akh! I tell you it is October,
And I defy you now and always
To deny there is not love

Staring foolishly at skies
Whose beauty but God defies.

For in October’s ancient glow
A little after dusk
Love strides through the meadow
Dropping her burnished husk…

Summer Lovin’ Read-a-Thon Challenge Day 1: Teasers – One Hundred Years of Solitude

Step up to the challenge! It’s easy! Post your challenge then click on others to check out theirs, you may find another book for your TBR list!

  • Grab the book you’re currently reading (or recently read)
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page  NO spoilers allowed! Choose passages void of spoilers. The goal is to entice, yet not ruin the book for others!
  • Share the title & author, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
  • Last and but not least, link up your post using the InLinkz below so that others participants can check out your post! You must link up in order to get your participation entry point! You MUST enter using the InLinkz to get your point .

****THIS CHALLENGE IS OPEN ONLY FOR 24 HOURS!!!!***** A new challenge will be posted tomorrow. 🙂

I’ll be using one of my favorite books of all time. We’re talking top 3. When I recommend this book, I try to explain the magic and beauty of it, but I always find myself failing to accurately portray just HOW special it is. There’s no better way to convey the feeling and depth of a book you love to someone than sharing passages from it. So this challenge it awesome.

From One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and since it’s a long one, I’m counting it as two passages. The way Gabo writes, it’s kind of hard to find short passages. Read the book, and you will see.

Pietro Crespi lost control of himself. He wept shamelessly, almost breaking his fingers with desperation, but he could not break her down. “Don’t waste your time,” was all that Amaranta said. “If you really love me so much, don’t set foot in this house again.” Ursula thought she would go mad with shame. Pietro Crespi exhausted all manner of pleas. He went through incredible extremes of humiliation. He wept one whole afternoon in Ursula’s lap and she would have sold her soul in order to comfort him. On rainy nights he could be seen prowling about the house with an umbrella, waiting for a light in Amaranta’s bedroom. He was never better dressed than at that time. His august head of a tormented emperor had acquired a strange air of grandeur. He begged Amaranta’s friends, the ones who sewed with her on the porch, to try to persuade her. He neglected his business. He would spend the day in the rear of the store writing wild notes, which he would send to Amaranta with flower petals and dried butterflies, and which she would return unopened. He would shut himself up for hours on end to play the zither. One night he sang. Macondo woke up in a kind of angelic stupor that was caused by a zither that deserved more than this world and a voice that led one to believe that no other person on earth could feel such love. Pietro Crespi then saw the lights go on in every window in town except that of Amaranta. On November second, All Souls Day, his brother opened the store and found all the lamps lighted, all the music boxes opened, and all the docks striking an interminable hour, and in the midst of that mad concert he found Pietro Crespi at the desk in the rear with his wrists cut by a razor and his hands thrust into a basin of benzoin.

Book Rec Friday – Flannery O’Connor

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The first time I read Flannery O’Connor I was a freshman in college, and we were assigned to read her short story “Good Country People.” I read it four times in a row. And then I immediately purchased this collection of her short stories and devoured them all. Lucky for me, summer vacation was just around the corner, so I could devote my full attention to Flannery.

How do I describe the work of Flannery O’Connor? Southern gothic, southern grotesque, southern. To me, Flannery is THE southern author. Sorry, Faulkner, but you’re just too convulted for the masses. Anyway, Flannery has the grotesque southern touch. For those of you who don’t know exactly what “southern grotesque” or “southern gothic” is, let me give you a quick overview.

And by quick overview, I mean here are some links for you peruse if you are so inclined:

http://www.openculture.com/2013/04/listen_as_flannery_oconnor_reads_some_aspects_of_the_grotesque_in_southern_fiction_c_1960.html

http://www.plymouth.k12.wi.us/OldSite/Staff%20Home%20Pages/High%20School/HS%20English/Cleary1/American%20Literature/Southern%20Gothic%20Literature.pdf

http://www.goodreads.com/genres/southern-grotesque

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Gothic

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about Flannery again. It’s rare that a writer can so seamlessly and effortlessly combine humor with elements of despair, violence, religion, and decay. Something terrible is happening, and it makes you LAUGH OUT LOUD, because that’s how good Flannery is. My words don’t do her work justice, so let me provide you with some quotes from her and her stories to entice you.

But first, I highly recommend reading about Flannery and her life. It’s easy to see where she got her inspiration.

English: Portrait of American writer Flannery-...

English: Portrait of American writer Flannery-O’Connor from 1947. Picture is cropped and edited from bigger picture: Robie with Flannery 1947.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And Flannery said is best herself, “Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.”

“She would of been a good woman,” said The Misfit, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”
― Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find 

“Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.”
― Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

“To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.”

“I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.”

“All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless and brutal.”

“There are all kinds of truth … but behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there’s no truth.”
― Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

“I use the grotesque the way I do because people are deaf and dumb and need help to see and hear.”

“Everywhere I go, I am asked if I think university stifles writers. My opinion is that it doesn’t stifle enough of them.”

“Her name was Maude and she drank whisky all day from a fruit jar under the counter.”
― Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

“I’m a member and preacher to that church where the blind don’t see and the lame don’t walk and what’s dead stays that way.”
― Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

“Everything that gave her pleasure was small and depressed him.”
― Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge

Okay, I could go on and on and on, but I’ll stop here and leave the rest to you.