We keep reading to make anew everything we have read before, or, to put it in a less grandiose way: I feel things about stuff, and I often don’t know why, but I’m looking to find out. It takes time, sometimes too much time (or not enough patience). So when I muddled through Donald Barthelme’s Robert Kennedy Saved from Drowing — the title has about as much poetry as your newspaper headline, I wonder if it wasn’t found there — I didn’t expect the story to be made anew so quickly, and by a profile of restaurant and TV critic AA Gill.

The 88 words above were scribbled into my notebook yesterday and are something that I would like to continue writing; something with threads of thought that I need to spin into a ball, or unravel — I can’t decide which.

Perhaps this is my problem: when I come to write on writing there are rules in my head that dictate, despite my knowing better, that once I lay down my opinion I can’t change it. What an ego I have, to think that people pay that much attention, that the world will change because I admire the swoop of one sentence and not the punch of another.

And then there is the problem of coming across the same sentiment in someone else’s writing, only they’ve written with a deeper understanding of the very thoughts I can’t quite articulate, and, I tend to think, with a better order and choice of words.

Recently I’ve started reading Patrick Kurp at Anecdotal Evidence, and, like previous incarnations of this blog that shamelessly copied the form of others (I Shot Frida Kahlolitblog.com)  I want my blog to be like his.

Much practice is needed, and I don’t kid myself that it will take some time to get back  into the habit to match the daily efforts of Patrick; his reading experience gives context and feeds back into his daily life (and vice versa), such as the opening and closing passages from a recent post: ‘To Make Sense of What Takes Place‘:

For the first time in 41 years I entered a classroom where chemistry is taught and found that bewildering sentence written on the “smart board” (slate’s digital replacement). My chemistry teacher in high school was a Ukrainian immigrant who, mid-semester, broke both of her wrists when she fell on an ice-covered sidewalk while walking her dogs. Her casts were so bulky she couldn’t lift a pencil or test tube, though she sparked my small but enduring interest in her subject.


Included in Collected Stories and Other Writings, one of the Cheever volumes recently published by Library of America, is “What Happened,” an essay from 1959. I found my day and this blog neatly distilled in this passage:

“…I was happy for I know almost no pleasure greater than having a piece of fiction draw together incidents as disparate as a dance in Minneapolis and a backgammon game in the mountains so that they relate to one another and confirm that feeling that life itself is creative process, that one thing is put purposefully upon another, that what is lost in one encounter is replenished in the next and that we possess some power to make sense of what takes place.”

Where books and life intersect. Where I want to be.