augustine ash via
I have this problem where I go to the library for something very, very specific and then leave with The Strange Case of Edward Gorey by Alexander Theroux. Well, this time anyway. Plus Kramer’sThe Sacred Art of Dying and a thin paperback on Manuals for Living. Last week it was a quarto on lettering and Emily Brontë. Basically I am easily side-tracked and should probably consider picking up a pair of blinders before I chance the stacks, you know, like Black Beauty wears during his stint as a cab horse and Ginger dies? And I’d cry and cry because Ginger was a full sixteen hands of her namesake’s biting spice and all sorts of traumatic analysis? Anyway. Besides all the Shakespeare and constitutional literature that is my life right now, I’ve been reading this little biography for the past few days, between Lear and Locke. And by reading I mean keeping it on my kitchen table so I can justify a few pages while eating breakfast before the day starts, but I’ve long loved what Theroux calls Gorey’s “little pen-and-ink cartoon marplots of delicate fright” and am now somewhat enamored of the man himself.
But I was reading my nine pages this morning and came across a small paragraph on his abecedarian Gashlycrumb Tinies that ended with this: “Bad behavior, to my mind, always confirmed for Gorey an essential and unavoidable fact of life, proving to his amusement . . . not only that this is the way we are, but also in a sense we all live closer to our deficiencies than to our dreams.” I’ve thought about that all day. Because it is sad and true, at least and especially in the case of my own productivity in the last twenty-four hours. Before class this morning I wrote out a rather strict study and work schedule for the day, consisting of a good thirteen absolutely essential things to do–get done — and have effectively ticked off exactly only one and three-fourths of that baker’s dozen. I’m not very good at maths or even numbers in general, but that’s like only barely above a ten percent success rate, and that is bad. Dreams. Deficiencies.
One thing about the world ending tomorrow is that my American Heritage midterm is on Monday and it might be nice to avoid that potential disaster by way of armageddon. But Kim’s true love is in Beijing so I won’t cross any fingers just yet. Plus I’m pretty sure I’ll actually live through the testing center but fail the Rapture.
And on an entirely other end note: The Epileptic Bicycle is one of my Gorey favorites, and I’ve always thought Embley would be a good name for a cat.