(Literary) Orgasms for Mary Anne

22 July 2001

No more lavender screen of death! But I thought I had my computer set up so that it was just as I wanted it. Um. Then I opened IE to try to deal with my links page. Everything in black type is not showing up. Oops. We'll make another run at it when I get home from church.

Do you know how mean the Mark is? Mean mean mean mean mean. That's how mean. Do you want to know how he's mean? I've had packages arriving addressed to me, Amazon boxes, and the mean Mark (mean mean) has been opening them so that he can write to the people who sent them and say, "Your package for M'ris is here, do you want me to wrap it up nicely?" Only so far nobody has written back to him to say yes. So I have, sitting around my home, several open boxes with presents for me in them. All I would have to do to see my presents would be to lift the cardboard just a hair.

But I don't. I deserve credit for that.

I miss Jen. I really, really do. I was thinking about Mr. Taylor's "literary orgasms," and that got me thinking of the nights Jenny and I drove her little red car (who was like Jesus, in the most extended, awful, and funny of my warped similes) into Kato to the Coffee Hag. We drank coffee and sat and read poetry and bits of plays and prose to each other and talked about them. And we talked about politics and world government and families and relationships, and it was good. And Jen drank Tanzanian peaberry coffee when the Hag had it, and I drank mochas, the best mochas I've ever had, and sometimes we had scones.

I don't have any of the stuff Jenny read to me, but I remember reading her T.S. Eliot when I was reading Murder in the Cathedral, and I'm sure there was some Diane Ackerman in there. And I read her a lot of Tom Stoppard and Christopher Fry bits, because that's who I was into at the time. Unfortunately, those books are in the Timprov's room with the sleeping Timprov, so instead, to appease Mary Anne, I'm going to give you my first remembered literary orgasm, a poem, because I know where it is, copied into my third journal on the opposite page from Maggie Estep's "The Sex Goddess of the Western Hemisphere."

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

We were very tired, we were very merry--
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable--
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry--
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry--
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, "Good morrow, mother!" to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, "God bless you!" for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

I was seven, I think, and this was my favorite poem ever. (I was very into Dickinson and Millay as a young kid. Then e.e. cummings took over for the next, eh, eight years or so.) It made me dizzy. I was going to move to New York and become a flapper like Edna St. Vincent Millay and run around writing little gems of short stories and publish them in little tan volumes that I would sign for people, graciously, on the street, and when I pulled my hand away, the page would still smell a little bit like pears. Then I found out that there weren't any flappers left in New York, and that was the end of that.

My most recent literary orgasm, I think, was in Joe Haldeman's Worlds Apart, and it's much harder to share with you. It was a bit in the middle, where the entire scene just so perfectly expressed a set of interrelationships between the characters, the dialog between them was so real and so right, that I just sat back and sighed. But part of that one was personal, it was a type of interrelationship I've been part of, and I was so happy with Joe for getting it right when it would have been so easy to get it wrong.

I'll probably fall back on literary orgasms when I don't know what else to write about in here, because I have a lot of them from over the years, and because I'm always happy when other people tell me what's they think is good so that I can go read it.

And argue with them, sometimes, but that's half the fun.

It's been a good time. A good beginning.

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