I found another copy of David Foster Wallace’s opus on the street the other day. Chelsea asked me if I was going to read it this time.
I’ve actually tried to get through it more than once. I had an easier time with Ulysses, although I didn’t finish that either.
Why pick up a book off the street? One in which I have no intention of reading. At least not until I have settled into retirement (what’s that?!). To rescue it from the elements? To rescue it from someone that will only use it as a doorstop?
I guess I just have difficulty walking past what I am told is a work of uncompromised genius written by a genius that was uncompromising. Whether I take it home or take it to Book Thug Nation to trade for a copy of something by David Sedaris is my business.
I never knew why though. Now I know that April, the first full Spring month, marked the resumption of fighting during wartime.
The second line in “The Waste Land” references death. Lilacs were planted as a memoriam when someone died. Think of Walt Whitman’s poem “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” about the death of President Lincoln.
Not surprising that human activity runs counter to what occurs in nature come Spring. Rebirth. Rejuvenation. Death. Destruction.
I liberated another pigeon from our factory space. Or was it the same one? Perhaps it was the same one and it was looking for its mate. I think I read somewhere that pigeons mate for life.
Still, if a pigeon can’t find its mate, does it forget its family and just join another flock? A few years ago, my partner and I found a pigeon with a hurt wing at the coffee shop I was managing at the time. We put her in a cardboard box with a small bowl of water and a saucer full of birdseed and left her in my car overnight. The next day, I drove the bird to a place in Manhattan called The Wild Bird Fund, which rehabilitates injured birds and then releases them back into the wild.
The bird doctor at this place confirmed that our bird friend, whom we had named Dylan, had an injured wing. He said they would splint the wing and turn it loose in the park when the she was healed. Maybe this bird that I rescued from our dank warehouse was Dylan.
I wonder what I would do if I got separated from my flock in some big, unknown place. People are facing this frightening scenario all over the world right now.
“Whatever happens in New York happens in the rest of the country ten years later… If American society is going to succeed, then it’s going to have to find a way to do what New York has always done, which is to take incredibly disparate human elements, put them together, and find a way for them to tolerate each other. So the fate of New York is extremely important to the fate of the country.”