Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Sportswriter

Passages from Richard Ford's The Sportswriter, which I hate, btw. If it had been written by a woman it wouldn't be so gender-offensive. But oh well. If I can work through a book written from the perspective of an educated black man from the 1970s in the South, and retain the essential messages, then I can read the work of a one-hit-wonder novelist who writes about sports because the people he has to interact with in that job are completely self-involved and emotionally unchallenging, who is looking at the only sources of intimacy in his life and degrading them mentally while all the while sneering at himself and reading his own small reasonings into their actions, then later admitting he made it up.... Oh yes, I can grip something in this.

But it's not likeable. Just. Saying. Horrible. It's like a visit to the literary Unseelie Court, when your tastes run mostly to the Seelie side of the sidhe, or things in general. GRRRR... Curiously enough, this sentiment leads right into the quote I had in mind:

Incidental: A typical mystery would be traveling to Cleveland, a town you have never liked, meeting a beautiful girl, going for a lobster dinner during which you talk about an island off of Maine where you have both been with former lovers and had terrific times, and which talking about now revives so much you run upstairs and woggle the bejesus out of each other. Next morning all is well. You fly off to another city, forget about the girl. But you also feel differently about Cleveland for the rest of your life, but can't exactly remember why.

The quote, which is the next paragraph: Mrs. Miller, when I come to her for a five-dollar consultation, does not disclose the world to me, nor my future in it. She merely encourages and assures me about it, admits me briefly to the mystery that surrounds her own life, which then sends me home wth high hopes, aswarm with curiosities and wonder on the very lowest level: Who is this Mrs. Miller if she is not a Gypsy? A Jew? A Moroccan? Is "Miller" her real name? Who are those other people inside--relatives? Husbands? Are they citizens of this state? What enterprise are they up to? Are guns for sale? Passports? Foreign currency? On a slightly higher level: How do I seem? (Who has not wanted to ask his doctor that?) Though I am fierce to find out not one fleck more than is incidental to my visits, since finding out more would only make me the loser, submerge me in dull facts, and require me to seek some other mystery or do without.

Well, what do you think?

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