Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Verbostic* Assault With Literary Intent
Well, maybe that's a tad harsh.
I opened this book at 10 P.M. on a Thursday night. Mistake #1. I had imbibed one or two stupid-making beverages. Mistake #2. I could not find my reading glasses, yet decided to forge on anyway. Mistake #3. While I realize that this is the metaphoric equivalent of poking a badger, of trying to drum up NRA memberships at a PETA rally, I'm the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. Call me Ishmael. Call me Doña Quixote. Just don't call me late for dinner.
I made it through 5 pages that night. Eventually, I made it through the whole (blessedly short) thing. It's not a bad book, in fact it must be a really good book because it won prizes. The blurbs told me so! But Stevens, the Great Butler-cum-narrator, can't contain himself linguistically. If one word will do, he'll use ten. If brevity is the soul of wit, Stevens is bound for Humor Hell. If words were air, the rest of us would suffocate because Stevens has inhaled the entire freaking galaxy. If prizes were given for going on and on and on and not really saying anything, well - you get the picture.
Anyhoo, long story short: the book left me with a larger vocabulary, a tired head and a provocative idea. What if all the words I hear and read were somehow drowning out my own? So, I'm conducting an experiment and turning off the noise. I've gone instrumental, music-wise. At least through the workday. Jazz, classical, salsa. Avoid the singing as much as possible but if it ain't in English, it's kosher. Today's been Buena Vista Social Club derived - all the branches on that tree that Napster has to offer. Yesterday, it was Mozart. Tomorrow? Maybe Japanese pop! I'm still bangin' my head to the Transplants in the car and I'm still overdosing on fiction at home, so no cold turkey. I wouldn't unleash that on my family. It is refreshing to have background noise, not that it's noise, but it's not demanding too much of my tiny little brain and I can just enjoy.
*Yeah, I made it up. Sue me.