Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Avalanche


This year has been such a wonderful adventure thus far. Twelve books read in fifty-nine days, which might just as well have been fifty-nine years — or minutes, so superfluous seems the notion of Time. I know I’ve said it before, that we exist in a moment of infinite duration, and that our arbitrary attempts to measure it amount to little more than rude convenience — and torment, since we’re slaves to the result. We truly lose something when we fear we have something to lose — minutes, hours, years, life.

Before I list the books, I want to recount a dream I had this morning just before I rose from bed. It’s just a fragment, really — or maybe it’s the whole thing; I can’t quite remember or tell:

I was on a lower slope of a tall mountain with my second eldest son, and we were looking up at the peak. He said, “I thought it was supposed to snow.” And on hearing his words, the mountain changed its countenance from benign and rocky and green to white beyond white — apparently there had been quite a storm, and somehow we missed it, or didn’t notice it. And yet neither of us was cold. “There’s your snow,” I said. And the mountain, smiling, began to rumble. “And there,” I went on for humorous effect, “is your avalanche.” Though it was far up above us, had it continued and gathered force, we would have been directly in its path. But we feared not, because either he, or I, or both of us, knew it was a dream.

This morning, then, and moving backward from there, I finished George du Maurier’s sweetly magnificent and profound Peter Ibbetson. Prior to that, I finally did what so many over the last six centuries have done: I read The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. Next we have Six Moral Tales from Jules Laforgue. And then A.E. Housman’s posthumous More Poems, edited by his brother, Laurence Housman. The Irresponsibles: A Declaration, a volume even more slender by Archibald Macleish, preceded that. Have you read Gil Blas, by Alain René le Sage? I have, all three volumes. Delightful. Give yourself the pleasure. The translator, Henri Van Laun, also translated Molière and H.A. Taine’s History of English Literature — the latter which I have not read, although it’s waiting in the wings. Bored yet? Then why not try Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater? I did, and I wasn’t bored for a second. And finally, first but not least, I finished the last three volumes of my ten-volume set of Shakespeare, which is where I left off when I listed last year’s reading. Poems, sonnets, and all. Macbeth, King Lear, Othello — everyone is familiar with the names. But there is much more to them than their sound, as I’m happily learning now that I’m a grizzled grandfather, but one avalanche away from forever.


12 comments:

-K- said...

No wonder you (and your son?) have such interesting dreams.

"Recently Banned Literature" remains a constant delight.

William Michaelian said...

Kevin, thanks. My son will be dropping by in a few days. We’ll see if he still remembers the avalanche by then. Or maybe he is the avalanche. He certainly was during his growing-up years.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics? No thanks, we've got W. Michaelian Avalanchian Ltd. and that's no snow job!

William Michaelian said...

And, according to the latest ski report, founded by the biggest flake of them all.

rahina q.h. said...

enjoyed your post and curiosity satisfied on which books you have read, William.... the dream sounds very much like a dream i had a few years back about mount everest ..... never left me as it was like a dream within a dream

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

:-) it's so nice to read about your dream really

William Michaelian said...

Rahina and Laura, it certainly seems (I love those two words together) as if dreams have a life of their own. And if they do, the implications are interesting, to say the least....

Thank you both, as always.

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Ed Baker said...

then ?
the "dream" is "reality"
&
"reality" is the "dream" ?

sounds like y'all are dropping
all
conceptual-ization-ing

&
eliminating, one by one, obscurations .

and

about that Snowy Mountain
,real or not real,
it's the same 'thing' -

easier to come down mountain
than to go up

no matter what the weather is
or
what the weather-man says ?

as for current reading ? ; here
re-reading :

-The Zen Teaching of Huang Po
trans Blofeld

- The Tradition of the New
Harold Rosenberg

&
re-reading and 'tweaking' MY (new) book-in-process:
AS I RECALL - POEMS of an URBAN HERMIT

and

just in yesterday that MY TYPEWRITER IS EROTIC
is going to be published so,
about to go through the galley-proof of that.

also
tried to read the Selected Marinetti but just can't figure out what the hell he is talking about so I
bailed about 1/2 way through

would be nice to meet you at that cave at the summit of the mountain, drink some beer and piss off of the ledge,



William Michaelian said...

I know less than zero about Marinetti, but if you made it halfway, my guess is that you made it farther than he did.

Great to hear more of your own scratchings are going into immortal print.

Up here, we spend a lot of time reading into the bird tracks.

For instance: between the lines, the shortest distance between two dreams is a poet feeling no pain.

erin said...

it feels as though i am watching you build a great boat. will there be a flood as there was snow? and will that too be the stuff of dreams?

do you know that there is alchemy in your being? do you know it is impossible to read you without feeling the intimacy of life?

xo
erin

William Michaelian said...

Erin, I can’t even prove that I’m not dreaming now. Nor do I feel the need. But I feel the intimacy too, and it is sufficient unto itself.