I spent a couple of calm-before-the-storm days with Lowell Lake, the martyr of his own hapless (even bewildered) making and the contra-hero of A Meaningful Life by L.J. Davis. In neat encapsulation: “There was a sense of dwindling, like a slow leak in a balloon, as if all the vigor was slowly going out of their existence, all the light from the sky, all the color from the world, all the good thoughts from Lowell’s head.” And lest you think there’s something spectacular in this disintegration, Davis is quick to repeatedly disabuse you of that notion; for example: “His life wasn’t breaking up. On the contrary, it failed to show the smallest fissure in its bland and seamless surface.” [Continue reading.]
Yes, the kind of reading I’ve been doing lately is one that, primarily, seeks to reassure myself that Real Life and the myriad terrors it’s been serving up lately can be staved off—even vanquished under the onslaught of words, words, words. Although, haha, I don’t know why I gravitated to the three up there, as collectively they seem to be tailor-fit to depress the bejeebies out of me. Davis’ novel is about a man who hates his job and whose marriage is falling apart (and there is no assurance of a happy ending); Shields has constructed a manifesto on the kind of writing I have long ago forgotten how to do; the Plath is infamously about a young (promising!) woman who descends into a crippling and vividly described depression.
Hello, kids; it seems I have survived Monday and all the blues that naturally come with it, and then some. But I soldier on, and I’ll read on—because that’s what one needs to do. I’ll read on until the next amazing weekend, until Real Life calls and promises that it will be awesome—until, dare I say, I’m closer to what idea of the Dark Tower I have, until I make good with a smidgen of what I obsessively think’s gone hokey with Real Life.[Continue reading.]