Friday, September 10, 2021

Alexander's Bridge

The coincidences and connections continue in my reading. I forgot to tell you that, in White Noise, by Don DeLillo, "The time of spiders arrived." Like now, September. The webs are at every entrance and exit to my home, hanging from trees by the compost heap, decorating the front columns that descend otherwise useless from the cantilevered porch roof. Why shouldn't they be homes for spiders?

(I also noted the coincidence of spiders while re-reading and reviewing Marrow of Summer, by Andrea Potos, for Escape Into Life.)

And that is a cantilevered bridge in Alexander's Bridge, by Willa Cather. (Though, I actually read the Dover Thrift edition.) This is a slim novel, as they say, probably a novella. I was interested in Cather's preface from 1922, where she seemed a little embarrassed by the book, as something written before she had found her true material (pioneers, the Great Plains, Nebraska!). To me, it held together quite well and led to an interesting proposition about the "great man," about whom we can't know everything: "The mind that society had come to regard as a powerful and reliable machine, dedicated to its service, may for a long time have been sick within itself and bent upon its own destruction." Naturally, I connected this to Don DeLillo's White Noise characters' theories that Adolf Hitler and Elvis Presley held the seeds of their own destruction within the coincidence of their too close connections with their mothers... Hmmm.

Now I'm inside a Nancy Horan novel while reading outside in the glorious September days, and soon must move on to some Lydia Millett I got through interlibrary loan, realizing the book I found in the library sale is part of a loose trilogy... Reading is a way I am holding everything together in a somewhat stressful time of many, many details. Some sweet news is that I got together with photographer Ken Kashian yesterday to sign copies (in pencil on archival paper) of his latest small art book, in a box, with tiny images and tiny poems (by me!) tucked in pockets that fold up accordion style. Only 14 copies for special collections. Lovely!

Also hmmm: perhaps I am a bit of a spider myself. (Or two fish.)

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