||[Apr. 24th, 2016|02:37 pm]
I quote as I listen. In all books there are places where the stones seem to be coming loose, stones that with a flick of a finger we might pull or dislodge and pocket, like that dark volcanic ore in the summer wall outside Augusta in Shawshank, in that field a field no more, not yet meadow. |
The old books are wildest, the least cultivated, the meadows crazed with flowers and sown with salt and teeth and men’s bones under rain and sun and a thousand turnings of the same moon and the same stars, wheeling and circuiting, surprised in their changelessness as the gods were with us in what we do and do again.
I read, which means I ramble. On each walk I take each evening the four or five best thoughts round themselves into a story that’s not about that walk but about something else, something that would make that walk vast and indeterminate, like a snake uncoiled. Or say the walk itself is a journey or a pilgrimage, beginning here and ending there. But the story of that walk forms a circle and links itself like a snake coiled around those four or five revolving points, like pylons straddling the mountains, and single lights reiterant as light itself falls.
Quoting is like this. I read Emerson, Robert Burton, Montaigne, even Shakespeare like this: not through but over. These books I find myself reading in reverse, following some irregular (memorial) beat, more often than forward, at march tempo. Or say whatever I quote, each time, is the epigraph to that single book I’ve yet to write. Instead of the dozen I will. I took a braid out of Baudelaire once for a sheaf: ‘Quelle ordre impérieux ! quelle fanfare de lumière !’ etc. But Coleridge would have been just as good, or better.
There are fields untilled that meadows remember, as they turn wild again.