“In the center, in a large fountain, a smiling marble angel ceremoniously urinated water into a shallow birdbath, to the delight of frolicking marble swans and nude nymphs.”
Margaret Cronin Fisk and Alan Fisk. The Paradise Rehearsal Club. New York: Summit Books, 1982. 289.
I recently finished a book entitled The Paradise Rehearsal Club, from which the above quote was derived. I think that that quote sums up the book fairly well, and I like the quote, so voila! Introduction. ("voila" needs to be read with a nasally male voice, by the way, even if you're female like myself...)
To characterize the quote, I would say it's slightly profane, paints a funny picture, and most importantly, is FUN.
To characterize the book, I would say it's a historical fiction set in New York in the 1920's, peopled with gamblers, boozers, and scammers. This novel deals with corruption as something that everyone participates in, as a normal part of life in that time period, as something fun and exciting.
You'll note, careful reader, that I've used the word "fun" twice now. That's not just because I need a thesaurus.
I was thinking about this blog earlier today. I named it "The Literary Gathering," and planned to write and post essays about the works that I read, literary and otherwise, occasionally. I named it "The Literary Gathering" to help spur me to read more works that have withstood the test of time, because they are both well written and because they deal with themes that humanity will always have to deal with in a beautiful manner, whether being positive or cruel about those themes.
Judging from the lack of essays as well as the shortage of reporting on older literary works, however, I think it's clear that this blog is not what I initially intended. I've learnt two things about myself as recently as this morning:
1. I don't want to write essays. It's not because I can't. I wrote essays frequently in my four years at the University of Michigan, and received what I consider good grades on them. There were times when I finished an essay and was proud of what I had written, liking the ideas I conveyed and how I conveyed them. I know how to write an essay, I just don't want to. I believe I am still burnt out from school, believe it or not, despite having graduated over a year ago.
2. I like to have fun while I'm reading. I like literature. I do. I adore Jane Austen and The Picture of Dorian Gray and Euripides' "Medea" and Jane Eyre and the work of Henry James and I could spend all day listing authors that I like. I have found, however, that I feel a need to intersperse my readings of such literary masterpieces with frivolous works that I don't need to think too intensely about, that doesn't make me question my worth or my ideas about society in general. I like works that are easy to read, that are fun to read.
Sometimes, I like to think. More often, I like to read about ridiculous monstrous water fountains with peeing angels and perverted birds and mythical creatures watching, voyeurs before the existence of the video camera.