Tuesday, December 20, 2005
When my friend was working on his master's thesis, he hung a postcard of Brando-as-Kurtz on his dorm-room door. The first vocal balloon he pinned to "Kurtz" read, "The torpor! The torpor!"
I'm feeling some of that, right now. I suspect it's just my unconscious way of assuming the T'ai Chi "first position" and bracing myself for the onslaught of the holidays, but I'm bothered by it nonetheless. I'd rather be a flurry of inspired activity. In fact, inspired escapist activity is exactly what the doctor is ordering.
Inspiration, however, is proving difficult to find. The closest I'm coming to it right now is perusing the pages of The Atlas of Literature, edited by Malcolm Bradbury. It's a prettily rendered, and frequently impressive atlas that does a tidy job of summing up geographical and historical conditions behind some of literature's great moments. We start with Dante's Worlds and Chaucer's England, and gradually move to Kafka's Prague and James Joyce's Dublin, before timidly concluding with the Fantasywallas of Bombay and the Glascow of Gray and Kelman. There's plenty of juicy stuff in between: right now I'm savoring Mark Twain's Mississippi.
Still and all, I'd rather be penning bohemian rhapsodies of my own. I'm a considerate, if not open-minded fellow. If you've got a reliable source of inspiration (preferably one that doesn't land you in rehab), let's hear it.