Mea Culpa

It’s been a slow week on this blog for many reasons. Probably most importantly, the weather has been terrible for photography. Not only has there been near constant rain, the clouds have been so low and so thick for the most part that any pictures I might have taken would have been underexposed.

I’ve also had to attend to some personal matters, like getting a driver’s license and attending a memorial for a friend from the YMCA.

I’ve been rereading Jude the Obscure and am only about three fourths of the way through the book. And although I regularly comment on poetry books or non-fiction as I read, I find it nearly impossible to do the same for novels. Perhaps that’s merely the result of habit, but it seems nearly impossible to discuss themes without considering the whole book.

I’m also discovering that I no longer have the ability to sit down and read a book straight through like I used to do in college. It wasn’t uncommon to read a novel in a single day, usually a Saturday or Sunday, or two days at the most. I’ve never been particularly fond of dragging a book out over a week or two, no matter how the work was assigned by an instructor.

Perhaps it’s just harder to maintain interest when it’s a second or third reading, as this is for Jude The Obscure. Of course, there’s very little suspense to drive me as there is in a first reading.

At times I worry that I may be losing some of my ability to really concentrate for long periods of time. It may not be a good sign that I’d rather check Facebook to see if someone has made a move in Scrabble or Lexulous than read 120 pages of Hardy straight through.

It may just be that as I’ve aged I have less tolerance for metaphors like this one

He retired to rest early, but his sleep was fitful from the sense that Sue was so near at hand. At some time near two o’clock, when he was beginning to sleep more soundly, he was aroused by a shrill squeak that had been familiar enough to him when he lived regularly at Marygreen. It was the cry of a rabbit caught in a gin. As was the little creature’s habit, it did not soon repeat its cry; and probably would not do so more than once or twice, but would remain bearing its torture till the morrow, when the trapper would come and knock it on the head.

now than I did when I first read the book while in high school. I suspect this all seemed new and exciting when I was eternally optimistic, but in retrospect it seems more depressing than I would have thought.

This may be the very same book I read as a high school senior, but I’m finding it difficult to remember what I thought about the book then. I am sure I’m seeing it quite differently this time around.

Still, I’m pretty sure I’ll have the book finished by this weekend and will be posting more regularly next week. I’d like to promise some new photos, but when I look at the seven day forecast there’s nothing but rain showing up, not even cloudy days. Of course, the weathermen have been known to be wrong, but around here they’re most apt to be wrong when they’re predicting sunshine, not rain.

4 thoughts on “Mea Culpa

  1. I’m sorry to hear about the death of your friend from the YMCA.

    As was mentioned in another post, Jude the Obscure was written in the winter of Thomas Hardy’s life as a novelist. I know that when I saw a film version of it on public television when I was a teenager, during the spring of my life, I was moved by it but moved from the place I stood, where winter was in the remote distance. When I actually read the novel in the summer of my life, it moved me in a different way.

    We’re not to winter yet. It’s still fall in our lives but winter is not so far away anymore. Reading your excerpts from Jude the Obscure gives me a chill that I couldn’t have felt when I was in my early thirties.

    Still I remember that Thomas Hardy wrote of light in winter, too, in Jude the Obscure.

    I can picture him writing Jude the Obscure on cloudy days like these we experience in November in the Pacific Northwest. I can picture him looking up from his writing to see the clouds part, getting up from his chair to take a winter walk in the sunlight. And not long after that he began to write only poetry.

  2. I’ve always been reflective, hence the English major.

    I suppose being reflective may have made me seem pessimistic to some, but I hope I continue to relish life and its many joys as I always have, Ron.

What do you think?