Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowbound

Snow is falling generally on Massachusetts.  Quiet, still, a blanket wrapping us up.  My best writing is done in the snow, when God showers the world in shut-up powder.   

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What is Writing like?

filling a pail

drinking from a river

good, hard, run

a hike, through the woods, barefoot

ploughing a field

shoveling coal into the furnace of a train

emptying yourself, pulling the stuffing out of yourself, the way your sister used to tear the fluff out of your stuffed animals.  

an old Yankee farmer, ploughing his field, and pulling out the rocks.  He puts the rocks into a wheelbarrow, and takes them to the edge of the field.  There, one by one, he piles the rocks on top of each other, fitting each into the other, perfectly, like the pieces of a puzzle, and he builds a stone wall.  The rocks are words, or sentences.  

The "Near-Masterpiece"

I was reading this piece on Graham Greene by Dwight Garner, and I felt the need to quibble, slightly.  Garner calls "The End of the Affair" and "The Power and the Glory" "near-masterpieces."  

While I haven't read "The End of the Affair," "The Power and The Glory" is, to me, a full masterpiece if ever there was one.  

Here's how I would rank the Greene I've read:
MASTERPIECE:
The Power and the Glory
The End of the Affair

NEAR-MASTERPIECE:
The Comedians

MASTERFUL:
The Honorary Consul
The Quiet American

SOME MASTERY:
A few of the short stories. 

NOT MASTERFUL:
Journey Without Maps



But I haven't read enough Greene.  A Christmas resolution!  While in college the idea occurred to me to go to Havana and interview any prostitutes who might have slept with GG, perhaps for an article.  Or a coffeetable book, with photographs - Nos Jodio El Capitain.  But like so many of my undergraduate ideas this one remained unfulfilled.  I wonder what insights they might've offered me.  And I them.