Tuesday, 16 July 2013

7 - Lavin/Hood/Addison

Short story
A Wet Day (1944) by Mary Lavin (1912-??) from the Classic Irish Short Stories book. This is a great story with lots of symbolism and metaphor (Ray Bradbury would have approved). There’s a woman and her aunt and their rainy kitchen garden and lettuce, whichlike usis fragile and can’t be preserved, and then there’s the priest, Father Gogarty, who comes for free vegetables and tells stories about having no decent food, and a farmer who is engaged to the priest’s niece visiting him. The visitor is sick, and Gogarty sees to it that he goes and doesn’t stay with him, which would be an inconvenience. So the niece takes him home and he dies. It’s interesting that the words of the priest are swamped by the sub-text shining through them. You could read this story a dozen times or more and still be seeing more symbolism, more metaphors, and more sub-text. I liked it.

Poem
I Remember, I Remember, by Thomas Hood. A sad poem in which the poet remembers the joys of his childhood from an adulthood that obviously has its challenges, since he says:
But now, I often wish the night Had borne my breath away.

His spirit is heavy and he feels farther away from heaven than when he was a boy. The poem has perfect rhyme, but it isn’t a sing-song rhythm and feels natural. The images are beautiful. I don’t know a thing about Hood, but will look him up and find out more.

Essay
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), Westminster Abbey (again from the Harvard Classics I have on my bookshelf). Published in 1711 in ‘The Spectator’. By coincidence, this is also a sad tale. The author often goes into Westminster Abbey and there contemplates the many people buried there, and how the things that concern us in life matter not a jot, as we all end up in the same ground crumbling into dust. A good essay, and unlike yesterday’s, this was easy to read, clear and concise. It brought back memories of my many memories of visits to the Abbey too. I wonder if Addison himself is buried there. (Another googling task!)

Writing
Wrote a poem, sorta-kinda based on the Mary Lavin story, or bits of it. It turned out to be pretty pathetic, but it was a poem, and is the basis of something I can work on later.

First week report:

I wrote a new short story this week and did a couple of edits on it. I’ll read it at our next writers’ group meeting and then decide what, if anything, I will do with it. I also edited some older stories, wrote a poem, read other stuff, did some editing work and writing work, and thought about writing a lot more. A successful first week.

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