Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And to make an End is to make a Beginning

As some of you may or may not know, my favoritest poem is "Little Gidding" from T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets." It was a favorite before Order and Disorder with Birzer, and now it is a favoritest. However, if there is one thing I cannot abide, it is when people misuse literature for their own means. It's like the 15 year old who quotes "Catcher in the Rye" because they too feel misunderstood, or Kafka, because they want to appear deep, or even reading Thomas Mann. Do you really know what you're reading? Do you understand what the story is about? If you do, fine, but if you don't...too many fall into the latter category because they simply read to read, not read to know.

Today I was reading the Life & Arts Section of the Financial Times (weekend edition!) that one of TWT writers lent me, and I came upon a small column called "The Book Doctor." The purpose of this section is that people write in with a problem, and the columnist responds back with an answer to the problem as shown in works of prose and/or poetry. The problem had to do with freezing up during the interviewing process, and the columnist used an example from a book that I've never read, but the quote given seemed to fit.

What turned the kettle on was when I read the next paragraph, when the columnist not only quoted Eliot's "Little Gidding," but quoted one of my favorite passages: "
We shall not cease from exploration/ And the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time."

I felt wronged when I read the columnist not only take that passage and use it in, what I believe, an incorrect fashion, but then twist it around to make it fit. Emphasis on the make because it truly does not work for those who know Eliot's work; I'd like the think my extensive reading of his prose (particularly his critical essays) and poetry gives me slightly more leverage on this point. The passage is meant to reflect returning to one's origin, where one's family comes from, after all the searching one does in the course of one's life. It reminds me of the German phrase Der Weg ist dat Ziel, or in loose translation: the journey is the destination.

The metro accident yesterday on the red line has been recorded as the worst accident in metro history, with at least 9 dead at this point and around 76 were taken to the hospital. I wish I could give more definitive numbers, but every newspaper I read has different numbers for the dead and injured.

On a happier note, my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Craig welcomed their second baby into the family! Magdalene Clare Alexander was born yesterday morning! She'll be called Maggie. She's the 18th grandchild on my mom's side, and the 8th girl cousin (I'm the 4th cousin/ 1st girl).
Aunt Kathy is my mom's baby sister and my godmother; she married Craig the fall of my freshman year of college, and had Natalie a year or so later. I am so excited to meet her when I go home in August. My family is just raving about how precious she is, and how soft (according to Marianne).

My day is going fine, except I've all ready eaten my pb&j because I was so hungry. Yes, I had breakfast. I don't understand why I get so hungry in the morning, and then can not eat until really late at night and be fine.

I got a postcard from Julia yesterday, and two from Italy over the weekend. I'll be writing my own set of postcards soon, once I buy more stamps and invest in some postcards. This week is going to be very full, as well as this weekend. I just found out last night that Sean is coming in town and wants to get the Hillsdalians together for soccer and spirits, so that will be part of the fun Friday Matt and I are planning. On Saturday, I'm going to meet up with Matt to see a museum or two before we head out to Maryland with the guys to go to this wicked huge bookstore Dr. Gamble was telling us about when he visited.

I am currently working on an article and waiting for a phone call from my editor, who is out dealing with car and kids. I like still having work to do, even when she is not here. I hate feeling like I'm dawdling. The letters editor is editing in my office; it's nice to have company. He never stays very long, but I think he likes the change of scenery.

Okay, back to typing. Today is the 23rd of June--I can hardly believe June has flown by this quickly. Talking to people (Broms, familia, Jules) on the phone last night reminded me of how lucky I am to have the technology to stay in touch with friends and family, and moreover, how blessed I am to have people who care so much for me. It makes life a little bit better in DC, even if I wish they were all here with me. I love it in DC, and I love the people I spend time with here, but I look forward to near-reunions and lots of hugs.


  1. I'm not gonna lie, I was definitely that 15-yr old quoting Holden Caulfield 0:)

  2. 1.) The spy museum is where its at.
    2.) I miss you.
    3.) Post-card!!!!!!
    4.) I need your address, text it to me.
    5.) I'm extremely happy to see that you're safe and sound from the Metro mess
    6.) Did I mention I miss you?