blogging from work
I'm blogging from school today, which feels slightly and agreeably shady. Canadian Lit this morning, where I found myself referring to it as the other North American literature: both objectionable and a cliche.
To rest my mind from teaching, I ate 3 sesame crackers, a piece of cheese, an orange, and 2 squares of a Unique Region Varietal Chocolate from Venezuela; and I read the opening pages of Five Red Herrings, by Dorothy Sayers.
Books are important to me in a lot of ways: entertainment, escape, information; they can be provocative of thought, sublime, amazing; they can make me want to beat my head against the wall over their sheer goodness and wonder. They can also soothe. I often use a book as a kind of tranquilizer, but it has to be a particular sort of book: one I've read before; not too tragic; not too serious; but with good prose that bears rereading.
Dorothy Sayers is perfect for this. She has a competent serviceable style that sometimes rises to brilliance, she loves language and uses it well, she's well educated, she's funny. And she's writing mysteries, so it's not too serious, no matter how many bodies pile up. And finally, she's the creator of one of literature's Perfect Men: Lord Peter Wimsey. He looks good in evening wear, is secretly athletic, quotes widely from the classic authors, and can estimate time of death within an hour or two--what more could you ask? Five Red Herrings isn't my favorite of her books (that would be Gaudy Night), but it's quite nice: murder in a Scottish village where the main occupations are fishing and painting. The first scene is in a pub, where Lord Peter witnesses a fight between two of the painters (who also fish, of course). Later, one of them is found dead! And so it goes on, with lots of local color and a judiciously applied smattering of Scots dialogue.
I'm counting on this to make me calm enough to go to this afternoon's meeting.