Thursday, July 29, 2004

“I am not afraid!” of Daisy Miller

I read Daisy Miller by Henry James yesterday and enjoyed it very much, although I am not quite sure what to think of the two main characters. Winterbourne was so proper, so much like an Austen beau in some respects, that he is fairly likeable from the get-go. But his inward contempt for Daisy taints him, and he can't let go of his classist attitude enough to just like her for her. He keeps coming up with reasons not to fall for her, but they all stem from jealousy. Winterbourne comes across as kind of an ass in the end, for turning away from Daisy for her inappropriate behavior that would somehow be appropriate if enacted with him.

Daisy is - well, Daisy. She really is an innocent, naive girl, prone to inappropriate behavior, but she also knows a good time when she sees it and doesn't let the appearance of impropriety hold her back. I understand why she was shunned by society, but obviously the best outcome would have been for her and/or Winterbourne to just fess up to their interest in each other.

Good read, but left me feeling frustrated that they never expressed their desire for one another. It would have ended with Daisy hurt in the end anyway, as Winterbourne would never have been able to maintain a relationship with her on his terms.

I read that this story was published in 1879, and I find that remarkable, given Daisy's freedom as a female character. I never got the impression that James saw Daisy as a "bad" girl, and I would undoubtedly assume she would have been interpreted as such by many readers at that time. James's treatment of Daisy as almost sympathetic has a bit of an early feminist slant that surprises me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I wrote a poem.

This is most definitely a work in progress.

Requiem for a Groundhog

There is beauty here, somewhere.

I drink. I pull
the smooth cobalt blue
glass from my lips.
Cold radiates
down my throat
into my chest,
across my back
and stops.

The field is the same
as it was before.
The weeds are still there,
tall and strong
and strangling
the thistles,
the tiny yellow
pickle-flowers
that taste like sour
dill if you eat them
they are still
the same.

Same too is the dog,
massive and magnificent.
His silver black snow
coat rises and falls,
Rustles with breeze
Is heavy with nature.
He's lain down now,
his back to me,
so I can’t tell if
His eyes are the same
(they were the color
of my glass).

There is beauty here, somewhere.

I watched the groundhog
fatten on thistles
and crabgrass
and pickle-flowers
From our kitchen window,
The wiry fur
difficult to distinguish
From mounds of
upturned earth.

They are joyful, groundhogs.

The earthen fur
is also the same
Wiry and dusty
But is limp-wet now,
so it also looks
sleek and elegant
Like mother’s mink
that I tried on once
but couldn’t wear
Because it was
too heavy.

The dog and I
(and the groundhog)
Are still the same
(and are not)
Sharing a space
that shouldn’t be
But is.

Thursday, July 8, 2004

Hamster Time

Big Brother Live Feed Recaps

I am not ashamed to admit that for the last 4 years I have turned my summer over to the campy, voyeristic trip that is Big Brother. This summer is proving to be no different.

The houseguests are like hamsters in a fishbowl, only instead of a Habitrail they have a hot tub. And booze.

Over the next three months I will get to know these people - and hate them, for one reason or another. They are all hate-worthy. But some will rise above the hate and become cherished pets, ones I will mourn on their demise.

So here is to another wasted summer. Let the snarking begin!

Sunday, July 4, 2004

On a very special blog - “I can’t READ!”

Actually, I can. I read a lot. I read so much that I know "a lot" is not really proper English, but I works in this situation, so I'm gonna go with it. Currently, I am reading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. I am also reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, but I don't actually own a copy - I am reading it at the bookstore.

I used to read a lot (there are those words again) as a kid, but after high school I didn't make the time. A few months ago I got the urge to pick up a book again, and I haven't stopped reading since.

Here is a list of books I have read since February of this year:

Forever by Pete Hamill
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Hard Times by Charles Dickens
Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenedes
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Life of Pi by Yann Martel

If you have any suggestions for a great read, please let me know.