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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Getting Stupid

Whenever I finish a book I turn into a man of physical tasks and quit reading and writing and doing anything that smacks of literary life. I am a man cleaning his garage or his closet or fixing the smoke detectors or cutting the grass or raking leaves or shuttling kids or doing the million and one things that never get done. And then I start watching all the crappy television in the world. The Gold Rush. Every MSNBC show I can find, overdosing on hours of political melodrama. Then I swing to every old movie I can find and some not so old movies...How many times can a man watch Uncle Buck or Karate Kid? Too many times. Die Hard II comes in a close second.

And then I sit around and wait. Wait for the world to do something. It is this I find most boring. And yet I don't pick up a book but read the NY TIMES cover to cover and try and find authors writing about authors and take samples of Bukowski but don't finish them. I am at sea as all writers are between books. And so I float along and decide for the hundredth time to move and change my life. Or not to move and stay the same and isn't day light savings time strange the way it gets dark so early?

And then I pick up an old book. Something I would never read. I have The Marriage Plot on the Kindle but I want some relief from the mainstream fiction for a little bit and so I plunge into A.S. Byatts Passion of the Mind. That's when it happens. I realize I have become stupid again. The writing is dense and involved and I have to try and enter a world where Browning and Kipling and Russians and all those writers I should ahve read but didnt reside. I pu the book down and figure it is no longer relevant anyway. Who cares about essays on Dostoevsky or an essay on Proust or whatever A.S. Byatt decides is relevant to the world.

So I leave it and go do more physical tasks and go look for more smoke detectors without batteries or stuff more laundry into the washer or go buy salt for the softener or get the oil changed and get a brake job or  I can go read A.S. Byatt. I throw the book in my backpack...

Just in case I get tired of being stupid.

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Books by William Hazelgrove