Thursday, April 07, 2005

SERVICE ADVISORY. In case anyone cares -- and ill as it becomes me to admit that possibility -- I apologize for the light posting. I made some last-minute commitments to bore local audiences instead of you, and these have clogged and will clog my schedule over the next few days. The geniuses on the sidebar have always been interesting than me and I encourage you to give them a look.

I would also like to take this opportunity to note the passing of Saul Bellow. He wrote damn well. I read Mr. Sammler's Planet when I was too young to appreciate it, but fortunately I waited a bit to take up Seize the Day and Herzog and they have stuck to my ribs. Perfect as is the former, I am put in mind of Herzog near the novel's end:
...The life you gave me has been curious, he wanted to say to his mother, and perhaps the death I must inherit will turn out to be even more profoundly curious. I have sometimes wished it would hurry up, longed for it to come soon. But I am still on the same side of eternity as ever. It's just as well, for I have certain things still to do. And without noise, I hope. Some of my oldest aims seem to have slid away. But I have others. Life on this earth can't be simply a picture. And terrible forces in me, including the force of admiration and praise, powers, including loving powers, very damaging, making me almost an idiot because I lacked the capacity to manage them. I may turn out to be not so terribly hopeless a fool as everyone, as you, as I myself suspected. Meanwhile, to lay off certain persistent torments. To surrender the hyperactivity of this hyperactive face, But just to put it out instead to the radiance of the sun. I want to send you, and others, the most loving wish I have in my heart. This is the only way I have to reach out -- out where it is incomprehensible. I can only pray toward it. So... Peace!
A kind thought also for Richard Brookhiser, who didn't like Bellow so much, but had enough respect for him and for literature to make thoughtful, literary comment on his passing, in contrast to the hee-haws of his fellow travellers.

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