I can't explain it, really. I got busy. I went to my favorite place in town and did some thinking:
Well, I say I got busy, but what I mean is I just Went Inside. Another Jungian Introvert will understand that, the general public maybe not so much. But I needed some hermit time with just me, myself and I. I've been doing movies like mad lately, and they've been movies that have gotten into my head and started moving furniture, re-shelving my books and dusting around the nick-knacks, pushing them slightly out of alignment. I had to go inward or I'd have imploded.
Then I realized that I'm horribly under-read. My grade and high school literature experiences were decidedly Steinbeck heavy. For the record, I detest Steinbeck. If I never read another of his over-rated pieces of drivel again, it will be too soon.
Why the hateration on Steinbeck? Well, let's see. I read Of Mice and Men...four or five times, The Pearl twice and was threatened with The Grapes of Wrath until I was allowed to shape my own literary experience that year and spent the time reading off the shelves (and chose the Gothics; Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, I discovered Ann Radcliffe) and wrote two term papers for my grade instead of taking tests, reading along with the others and writing only one.
The lack of variety, I realized, has stunted my growth. I thought all literature sucked because Steinbeck sucks, but that's not a valid comparison. Steinbeck is not all of literature and literature is not, thank God, only like Steinbeck.
I hadn't realized until I saw Midnight in Paris how little actual literary experience I have. I'd never read Fitzgerald, I'd never read Hemingway. I've never completed a Dickens novel, or an Austen book or any of the others my peers have complained about through the years. No Herman Hesse, no Somerset Maugham. No official Poe, no official Mark Twain. For the price my parents paid, you'd think I'd have gotten something a bit more sophisticated than the All Steinbeck Channel. So yesterday and today I've been trolling the libraries and bookstores, trying to find some new reading material.
The one you don't see in there is the one I read last night, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. That one I took a flyer on and bought, so it's now on my bookshelves. I actually quite liked it. He used language in a very pretty way, although his commas confused me. What can I say, I have a comma style. It may be right, it may be wrong, but it's my style.
Anyway, I started Hemingway this evening. My friend who went to MiP was right; the Hemingway in the movie spoke just like the real Hemingway wrote, and it's hilarious. Oh, it's a generational thing--sort of like in the movie The Maltese Falcon when Humphrey Bogart's character looks at another character and says (in what must have been menacing fashion in the day but now was just amusing), "I'll slap you 'til you like it." I had to shut the movie off at that point; you must see why.
So I'm starting some assigned reading this week. We'll see how long the kick lasts. I'd like to know if there's some kind of proper Literature I'd have liked that I've missed because of poor lesson planning and bad communication between teachers in my over-priced private schools.
Actually, it's kind of funny; I read Of Mice and Men twice in a row under the same teacher. You'd think she could have remembered something like that. I sure did. Blech.