maybe there is nothing, ever, that can equal the recollection of having been young together

(12 comments)
December 11, 2006

It seems so dark these days, but I console myself with the reminder that these are very near darkest days of the year, that the sine wave of daytime has pretty much peaked, axial tilt is doing its worse and we're surviving, and for the most part it will only get better from here.

Literary Passage of the Moment
"Venture too far for love, she tells herself, and you renounce citzenship in the country you've made for yourself. You end up just sailing from port to port. Still, there is this sense of missed opportunity. Maybe there is nothing, ever, that can equal the recollection of having been young together. Maybe it's as simple as that. Richard was the person Clarissa loved at her most optimistic moment. [...] It had seemed like the beginning of happiness, and Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later, to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk, the anticipation of dinner and a book. [...] What lives undimmed in Clarissa's mind more than three decades later is a kiss at dusk on a patch of dead grass, and a walk around a pond as mosquitoes droned in the darkening air. There is still that singular perfection, and it's perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other."
--The Hours, Michael Cunningham, recommended by FoSO (who pointed out the sentence used as today's title) and excerpted by Cutter Girl.

Comparing the excerpt to the full passage from the book, it seems like it does a pretty good job, removing the bits that are more subjective, and that the reader would need to take in more of the book to catch the setting. But then another side of me wonders if those subjective details are what it's all about, what sets the scene first, with the more universal analysis built on top of that.


Article of the Moment
Slate on Sudhir Venkatesh's new book on the ghetto economy and sociology. It's a fascinating article, but it almost sounds too good to be true, like one of those personal stories where the main character turns out to be completely made up by the author.