I should have known better than to resolve to turn off the TV and read on the day when Gossip Girl episodes returned. We can't help it. We are powerless to turn off Gossip Girl. Watching it is essential to our mental health; it makes both Mr. CR and I feel young and problem-free when we watch these Manhattan teens drinking, smoking, and dealing with much more complex problems than we'll ever have.
I also did not read any poetry yesterday. But I got close: a new book came in for me at the library about which I was so excited that I simply held it in my hands and felt pure delight for a moment. And then I came home and read it so engrossingly that I forgot where I was. The book? The Norman Maclean Reader: Essays, Letters, and Other Writings by the Author of A River Runs Through It.
Although I could never, ever choose a "favorite" book, A River Runs Through It comes close (I have to read it, and J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey, at least once a year to maintain my version of equilibrium). I think it is beautiful in both its story and its writing. Perhaps it speaks to me because it is a fictionalized story of Maclean's youth and young adulthood in Montana, and particularly his drive to understand his family and his younger brother. As part of a large family I certainly understand trying to understand one's parents and siblings. What I find particularly telling is that Maclean wrote his masterpiece when he was in his seventies (in the 1970s), and his brother had been killed in the late 1930s. Can you imagine working over the death of your brother to try and understand it for forty years? Without getting too personal, all I can say is, I can. Although I loved this book long before I could understand that. Perhaps that is why I love it so: I loved it before I needed it, and after I needed it, I only loved it more. That is rare for me, as I am often need help but resent needing it (hence my hatred for doctors).
Well, I've wandered a bit. More about this book, which is interesting in its own right, tomorrow. Today, just a small example of Maclean's poetry, from his novel, which is excerpted in this collection:
"Yet even in the loneliness of the canyon I knew there were others like me who had brothers they did not understand but wanted to help. We are probably those referred to as 'our brothers' keepers,' possessed of one of the oldest and possibly one of the most futile and certainly one of the most haunting of instincts. It will not let us go."