notes from the northeast

2007-11-07 - 7:25 p.m.


Perhaps you are wondering where I am?

Well, I am in the state of Maine. N is looking at a college here. In fact, she is staying over night with a student at said college.

I hope she likes this college. I like this college. I think I would be overjoyed if she were to like this college, apply and get in.

But that's my opinion, and it's really up to her, so I'm trying really really hard to shut up and not say anything.

It's awfully nice here, though.

We flew in to New Hampshire, but saw no politicians.

My theory that I have just not adapted to life in the Golden State received further bolstering when we landed in NH. Those people -- they are like me. They wear their hair like I do, they like the sweater-jeans combo that I'm so very fond of (and it's actually cold enough here!)

Maine is pretty much the same way. Plus, there are even people with my last name in the phone book. My last name is not common. It's a sign.

(Actually, I was not surprised about this, because according to the Mormons, my people came from here.)

(And I bet they all dressed like I do, too.)

(Have I told you that one of my ancestors was accused of being a witch? In Salem, but she was really from Maine.)

Anyway --

Further notes on driving around with one's daughter looking at colleges --

This time, I'm getting abandoned a lot. She's staying with a generic student tonight (probably some perky volleyball player who will put her off this perfect spot for good) and with a friend tomorrow night (at a different school). It feels like a rehearsal for the point where we have to driver her somewhere, drop her off, and then go off to entertain ourselves. Or sob, more likely.

So it's good to practice.

She started off a bit surlier, too, but I think that was the 4:30 am departure time.

It is a great time for conversations about nothing in particular.

The foliage is still pretty colorful, although there's a feeling in the air that snow is not too far away ...

(I really miss winter. I know this is unnatural.)

It's a great time to think about my own life. Funny. We just went to see Bruce Springsteen -- completely by accident, really -- a friend had extra tickets. But my theory is that his new new album is good because his kids are now nearly at the age he was when his albums were good. Watching a kid get ready to become a grown up, or at least teeter on the edge of adulthood (it's still at least 3 years off if not more) is interesting.

I hated my twenties. I had no idea what I wanted to do, and really not much confidence that I could do anything real. When I was 30, N was born. Having kids was great. I'm actually pretty good at that, and it's been so much fun. They're so interesting. Also annoying and frustrating and timeconsuming. But mostly fun and interesting.

But now I'm coming out the other side of that whole experience, and that's interesting, too. I'm nearly 50. I'll be 50 when M goes to college.

Driving around with N, imagining her future, I'm starting to imagine what mine will be, too.

Okay. I'm sure that's all fascinating, but I think I'll take a little walk before bed. I haven't quite adjusted to the time change ... Also, I have no cell phone reception here, and god knows the ones at home might need me!

Oh! I just read a really interesting article in the New Yorker, by Adam Gopnik, about abridgements of classic works (because there just isn't time enough anymore to read all of Moby Dick, of Anna Karenina, or Vanity Fair. Well, I suppose it's true.)

Anyway, it's a great article. Oh, it's called The Corrections, and the blurb is here. But here, from the abstract, is the whole glorious point of the article:

The Orion “Moby-Dick” is not defaced; it is, by conventional contemporary standards of good editing and critical judgment, improved. . . .When you go back to find the missing bits, you remember why the book isn’t just a thrilling adventure but a great book. The subtraction does not turn a good work into hackwork; it turns a hysterical, half-mad masterpiece into a sound, sane book. It is all Dick and no Moby. Discusses the abridged “Vanity Fir,” noting the elimination of Thackeray’s rambling commentary and intrusions. But Thackeray without his jokes and asides becomes another, duller writer. Meaning resides in the margins. The real lesson of the compact editions is not that vandals shouldn’t be let loose on masterpieces but that masterpieces are inherently a little loony.

Sort of reassuring, somehow.


out of print - new releases

find me! - 2008-02-12
where I've gone - 2008-02-07
Where I've gone - 2008-02-05
where I've gone - 2008-02-01
New - 2008-02-01


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