Last Night in Lompoc

December 30, 2008 § Leave a comment

I’ve been sleeping all afternoon, still sick; I don’t want to get on a plane tomorrow. I’ve gotten over the feeling that I should leave because my brother did–it’s quieter now. I could read and write and spend time with my mother. I have to start planning longer trips, like the Victorians did, staying a month or so and keeping on with one’s business. Not that they had a lot of business (the women),but. I could. Or maybe it’s just the pain talking, the desire to not have to face crowds and security and coughing on others and a cold wait in the taxi line. My mother’s talking to herself in the other room. That low murmur is so soothing. As as child, it made me know what she was thinking–that it was nothing harmful or strange, only what she was doing or had to do–now it makes me think she’s not lonely, which is probably untrue. When I told her Charles said he was lonely, she said that’s what books are for. Actually, he said he was lonely for me, so I guess that’s what my books are for, or would be if I could write day and night. We talked about Dickens. Nobody wrote or writes as wonderfully as Dickens. “When he dines alone in chambers, as he has dined today, and has his bit of fish and steak or chicken brought in from the coffee house, he descends with a candle to the regions below his deserted mansion, and, heralded by a remote reverberation of thundering doors, comes gravely back, encircled by an earthy atmosphere, and carrying a bottle from which he pours a radiant nectar, two score and ten yeras old, that blushes in the glass to find itself so famous, and fills the whole room withthe fragrance of southern grapes.” I could go on quoting for pages, but will not. Read it yourself. Bleak House. Dickens cures the ills contemporary culture inflicts, though it helps if you’ve spent some large part of childhood and youth in like company. If the style  is too unfamiliar it may not help, but for me it brings back everything that made me excited about being alive, conscious, possessed of language and sympathy.

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