25 November 2009

Optical Democracy & Unguessed Kinships

'The horse trudged sullenly the alien ground and the round earth rolled beneath them silently milling the greater void wherein they were contained. In the neuter austerity of that terrain all phenomena were bequeathed a strange equality and no one thing nor spider nor stone nor blade of grass could put forth claim to precedence. The very clarity of these articles belied their familiarity, for the eye predicates the whole on some feature or part and here was nothing more luminous than another and nothing more enshadowed and in the optical democracy of such landscapes all preference is made whimsical and a man and a rock become endowed with unguessed kinships.'

* This book has taken its hold. Just like my great compadre DB suggested it would when she passed it on to me. Like the last scene of war movies. With his final gesture the dying soldier - blood on his face, gasping for breath, talking about a girl back home - firmly presses his dog tags into the outstretched palm of his childhood friend and closes the fingers over them. The one he dreamed of playing ball with for the Yankees.

I finished the novel. Now I yearn for the novel. I leaf through its pages a few times each day. In needs of its guidance. In a backwards sort of way, I often choose these images before I find the quote to accompany them. The novel has an uncanny ability to describe the world with absolute certainty.

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