Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March 3: Pure Agony, "Miss Lonelyhearts," God's Love Number Fourteen

(Curiously, everybody who later read [Paul's] book A History of Cuban Hippiness, 1990, was surprised by his candor, for in that "novel" he described the pure agony of that rejection--accustomed as he had become to bedding her down within the very first day of her visit home, and suddenly finding himself alone in the world, in a sense...

Paul, the son of Ives' best friend, ends up marrying Ives' daughter, Caroline.  Paul is a decent person, putting up with the physical abuse of his father, pining away for Caroline when she abruptly breaks up with him in college.  He never loses that core of goodness.  But he writes of his pain and suffering in his novel, a loosely fictionalized version of his own life.  Truth is everything to Paul.

You have to be a little fearless to be a writer.  Willing to face the "pure agony" of life, using it as the substance of your poetry or fiction or memoir.  It's not easy sometimes.  As I sit down to type my blog posts every evening, I consider how far I want to go, how much I want or can reveal.  I want to write the truth, but I also don't want to hurt people I love.  That's the balancing act.  To keep all the plates spinning and not disappoint anyone.

My sister was not discharged from the hospital today.  I made a phone call to her surgeon's office this afternoon.  I spoke to the patient liaison, told her what was happening.  The patient liaison, in turn, made a few phone calls.  Long story short, the doctor who wanted to discharge her today was told to call and speak to my sister's surgeon about how to proceed.  My sister is probably still heading to a long-term care facility for a while, but she will be safe until she's well enough to come home.

I'm at my university office at the moment.  It's almost 8 p.m.  Pretty soon, I'll head out into the snowy dark to pick up my daughter at her dance studio.  It's quiet in the English Department.  Spring break.  Only people without lives are here tonight.  Like me.  I just went into the department mail room to sharpen a pencil, and I found a copy of Nathanael West's novel, Miss Lonelyhearts, in the free book stack.  I snagged it.  I haven't read it since my graduate school days, but I've always thought it was one of the most neglected great books of the twentieth century.  It made me very happy to have a copy in my hands.

And that's God's love number fourteen.  Unexpected gifts.

So, much good has happened today.  My sister is where she needs to be.  I have Miss Lonelyhearts in my book bag, and this blog post is done.

See, Saint Marty kept all the plates spinning.

And now, for my next trick...

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