In the morning, I read Howards End1 for classics book group. I am relieved to find I still love Forster. I would get on faster with Howards End if I didn't know what was coming -- and if our narrator didn't seem a little unjust towards poor Leonard Bast, who loves books and learning, but in the wrong way, you see, as the moon and not the finger pointing. It seems mean. He's so young. He could grow.
Lovely writing, though. It makes me want to revisit the rest of Forster's books. I think I read the lot at peak Merchant Ivory (1992?). We almost took up A Passage to India, but through the alchemy of our listkeeper's secret points system ended up with this instead. I trust him; he was once a scientist and seems to have a highly ordered mind. Also, I'd read A Passage to India more recently than the rest of Forster2, so I was selfishly happy to have another.
I also got some distance into Party Going. Same business as Loving: vivid setting, interestingly slippery sense of time and space, characterization of humans at their smallest soul size and communication at its highest rate of failure. Very interesting, not very likeable, but maybe in that purposeful unlikeability -- likeable?
In the afternoon, S. invited L. and I for a shopping run before he started on the Superbowl. I proposed a walk by the ocean first, so we followed the alley beside the cemetery and wandered along the sea. There's a sheltered bay, with a stony beach and an open sweep of shoreline to the point, where most of the view-seekers park their cars and fly their kites. We didn't go that far -- just a way along the bay and then back up through the graveyard. All was very grey, and the sea glass-green as the edge of a thick pane.
As we were in a graveyard, we talked about what ought to happen to our various remainders. S. characteristically did not want to specify a place where his ashes should be scattered -- instead, he suggested that we scatter them in a place we liked.
My companions expressed their disdain for graveyards (wasteful) -- I think that's true, but I like the places themselves. They're like walking through a three-dimensional book of the dead.
Then shopping, of the sort you do on a Sunday afternoon before a Superbowl, and then very comfortable napping, and then work -- I'm subbing tomorrow, so I spent some time at home working through the other instructor's slides, and then some time over at L's doing the same, while she made black bean and yam soup. She added some preserved lemon she's bottled last year -- delicious.
I should perhaps sketch our domestic arrangements, which are haphazard and serendipitous. L. and I, ancientest of friends, each live a block back of the neighborhood road, on opposite sides. S., ex of L. and friend to both, lives up the hillside just a bit further on. So we have a little triangle of houses, and are more or less roommates connected by long asphalt hallways.
I tend to fall into these tricorne domesticities. I don't know why.
So, for example, on Monday L & I had a work date at S’s place -- though this is unusual.
* S's place is for TV or cards with all three of us
* L's domain is for work dates with L & I
* and once in a blue moon one of cards or work (but not TV) happens at my beautiful shed.
S & I most often do things together when L. is out of town or busy, as on Thursday when he & I had a Studio 60 date (for L., though she has many fine qualities and an encyclopaedic knowledge of recent television, does not like Aaron Sorkin3).
We three had the perfect soundtrack on Monday because S has flawless taste in music for a specialized range of moods best characterized as exquisitely self-conscious world-sorrow (and variations thereon). Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Sufjan Stevens – the people I want singing to me in an emergency when I still have to go to work tomorrow.
We took breaks to watch Rachel Maddow, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers. Then we went back to work.
As I walked home tonight, it was snowing in minute grains, almost rain, yet not at all sleety -- just a fine particulate crystal on the edge of its melting point.
I am disappointed, obviously, at the symbolism of the Superbowl outcome, but it is in keeping with the register of the year so far.
1. As I was writing this, I realized that "I made some progress with Howards End" or "I got a bit further into Howards End" and any other metaphors of progress were all going to come out sounding wrong.
2. Though to be fair, "recently" probably means something like 2011. Gah.
Crossposted from Dreamwidth (http://radiantfracture.dreamwidth.org/2