Thursday, December 28, 2006

At the same time, though, I have to confess that the thought crossed my mind, not once, but several times, that he might drown out there and, though I didn’t linger over this notion, I know that it didn’t bother me. I didn’t care about him, and I knew there was nothing that could connect me with his apparent accident. For that next hour or two, I felt elated at having done what I wanted to do and, if I gave thought to it at all, the only thing I was certain of was that, if Malcolm Kennedy drowned, I would be free of him. Not that I ever considered this a seriously possibility. He wouldn’t drown, because nobody drowned in a twelve-foot-deep pit of water, a few miles from the town.

John Burnside, "The Limeroom," in Granta 96: War Zones (41)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I should like to say for the record I am not a “Bonesman” or indeed a member of any of the exclusive “secret societies” – Book and Snake, Scroll and Key, Snake and Eggs, the Leatherstockingmen, the Yale School of Forestry, etc. Due to their open advocacy of cloak-wearing and their great windowless clubhouses known as “tombs” (many of them carved out of a single block of marble), these societies have prompted much fanciful speculation about bizarre masturbation rituals and hidden plans for world domination.

John Hodgman, The Areas of My Expertise (144)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A representative mid-nineteenth-century traditionalist was being asked to judge the work of a "wholly new" order of craftsman. His reply to the first letter (implied by her second letter to him – his letters do not survive) must have told her that the "Alabaster" poem lacked form, that it was imperfectly rhymed and its metric beat spasmodic, a judgment which would have been shared at the time by most of the fraternity of literary appraisers. The unorthodoxy of melodic pattern controlled by key words, wherein the parts express whole, the altering of metric beat to slow or speed the nature of time itself (the theme of the "Alabaster" poem), give it dimensions which he was not equipped to estimate. He was trying to measure a cube by the rules of plane geometry.

Thomas H. Johnson, editor; The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (vi)