Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Transcendental Tuesday: Some Books For February

Chicago is gearing up for an historically big snow, and hopefully folks will prepare and stay safe and warm.   It looks like rain here.

My wife already has her Groundhog Day ginger cookies made, and we'll probably watch the movie,  Groundhog Day (Special 15th Anniversary Edition) tomorrow or the next day.

In case you didn't know, Groundhog Day is a parable about a shallow superficial man, played by Bill Murray, who lives Groundhog Day over and over again.  At first, he uses his power hedonistically, but as time goes on, or doesn't, he learns compassion and lives his days as a kind of bodhisattva, selflessly helping the same people who need it every day.

Valentine's Day shapes some of our reading for the next two weeks.  I never tire of reading The Book of Love, an 827 page anthology of love literature, gleaned from the world's best fiction, poetry, essays, and memoirs and edited by Diane Ackerman and Jeanne Mackin.

Richard Matheson's Somewhere In Time is also a Valentine's Day  favorite of ours, both the book and the movie made from it.  There are a couple of special hardcover editions, the most beautiful of which is  the Dream Press edition in a pictorial slipcase featuring a picture of the watch from the movie.  This large hardcover also includes What Dreams May Come, another transcendental novel.

Seeing as how it is not Valentine's Day yet, here's a selection from The Book of Love that always leads into a discussion about what love is and what love isn't.  It is by American author Kenneth Fearing, who died fifty years ago.  Fearing was best known as the author of the classic thriller, The Big Clock (New York Review Books Classics).  See what you think. 

Love 20 Cents the First Quarter Mile

All right, I may have lied to you and about you,
     and made a few
     pronouncements a bit too sweeping,
     perhaps, and possibly
     forgotten to tag the bases here or there.
And damned your extravagance,
     and maligned your tastes,
     and libeled your relatives,
     and slandered a few of your friends.
     Nevertheless, come back.

Come home.  I will agree to forget the statements
     that you issued
     so copiously to the neighbors and the press.
And you will forget that figment of your imagination,
     the blonde from Detroit;
I will agree that your lady friend who lives above us
     is not crazy, bats, nutty as they come,
     but on the contrary rather bright,
And you will concede that poor old Steinberg
     is neither a drunk, nor a swindler,
     but simply a guy on the eccentric side,
     trying to get along.

Because I forgive you, yet, for everything.
I forgive you for being beautiful and generous and wise.
I forgive you, to put it simply, for being alive,
     and pardon you, in short, for being you.

Because tonight you are in my hair and eyes,
And every street light that our taxi passes shows me
     you again, still you,
And because tonight all other nights are black,
     all other hours are cold and far away,
     and now, this minute, the stars
     are very near and bright.

Come back.  We will have a celebration to end all
We will invite the undertaker who lives beneath us,
     and a couple of boys from the office,
     and some other friends.
And Steinberg, who is off the wagon, and that insane
     woman who lives upstairs, and a few reporters,
     if anything should break.

I'll explain my interpretation in another post.  Meanwhile, here's the official website of Somewhere In Timelink.

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