Tuesday, March 28, 2017

the last book I ever read (John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, excerpt four)

from Cannery Row by John Steinbeck:

“Well, get back as soon as you can, will you? We’ll just stay right here.”

“Anyways you won’t go running off without a needle valve,” said Gay. He stepped out to the road. He thumbed three cars before one stopped for him. The boys watched him climb in and start down the hill. They didn’t see him again for one hundred and eighty days.

Monday, March 27, 2017

the last book I ever read (John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, excerpt three)

from Cannery Row by John Steinbeck:

The next owner took off the front of the cab and the windshield. He used it to haul squids and he liked a fresh breeze to blow in his face. His name was Francis Almones and he had a sad life, for he always made just a fraction less than he needed to live. His father had left him a little money but year by year and month by month, no matter how hard Francis worked or how careful he was, his money grew less until he just dried up and blew away.

Lee Chong got the truck in payment of a grocery bill.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

the last book I ever read (John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, excerpt two)

from Cannery Row by John Steinbeck:

“Oh!” said Hazel and he cast frantically about for a peg to hang a new question on. He hated to have a conversation die out like this. He wasn’t quick enough. While he was looking for a question Doc asked one. Hazel hated that, it meant casting about in his mind for an answer and casting about in Hazel’s mind was like wandering alone in a deserted museum. Hazel’s mind was choked with uncatalogued exhibits. He never forgot anything but he never bothered to arrange his memories. Everything was thrown together like fishing tackle in the bottom of a rowboat, hooks and sinkers and line and lures and gaffs all snarled up.

Doc asked, “How are things going up at the Palace?”

Saturday, March 25, 2017

the last book I ever read (John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, excerpt one)

from Cannery Row by John Steinbeck:

Then the creeping murderer, the octopus, steals out, slowly, softly, moving like a gray mist, pretending now to be a bit of weed, now a rock, now a lump of decaying meat while its evil goat eyes watch coldly. It oozes and flows toward a feeding crab, and as it comes close its yellow eyes burn and its body turns rosy with the pulsing color of anticipation and rage. Then suddenly it runs lightly on the tips of its arms, as ferociously as a charging cat. It leaps savagely on the crab, there is a puff of black fluid, and the struggling mass is obscured in the sepia cloud while the octopus murders the crab. On the exposed rocks out of water, the barnacles bubble behind their closed doors and the limpets dry out. And down to the rocks come the black flies to eat anything they can find. The sharp smell of iodine from the algae, and the lime smell of calcareous bodies and the smell of powerful protean, smell of sperm and ova fill the air. On the exposed rocks the starfish emit semen and eggs from between their rays. The smells of life and richness, of death and digestion, of decay and birth, burden the air. And salt spray blows in from the barrier where the ocean waits for its rising-tide strength to permit it back into the Great Tide Pool again. And on the reef the whistling buoy bellows like a sad and patient bull.

Friday, March 24, 2017

the last book I ever read (William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, excerpt twelve)

from As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner:

But the curiousest thing was Dewey Dell. It surprised me. I see all the while how folks could say he was queer, but that was the very reason couldn’t nobody hold it personal. It was like he was outside of it too, same as you, and getting mad at it would be kind of like getting mad at a mud-puddle that splashed you when you stepped in it. And then I always kind of had a idea that him and Dewey Dell kind of knowed things betwixt them. If I’d a said it was ere a one of us she liked better than ere a other, I’d a said it was Darl. But when we got it filled and covered and drove out the gate and turned into the lane where them fellows was waiting, when they come out and come on him and he jerked back, it was Dewey Dell that was on him before even Jewel could get at him. And then I believed I knowed how Gillespie knowed about how his barn taken fire.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

the last book I ever read (William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, excerpt eleven)

from As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner:

Sometimes I aint so sho who’s got ere a right to say when a man is crazy and when he aint. Sometimes I think it aint none of us pure crazy and aint none of us pure sane until the balance of us talks him that-a-way. It’s like it aint so much what a fellow does, but it’s the way the majority of folks is looking at him when he does it.

Because Jewel is too hard on him. Of course it was Jewel’s horse was traded to get her that night to town, and in a sense it was the value of the horse Darl tried to burn up. But I thought more than once before we crossed the river and after, how it would be God’s blessing if He did take her outen our hands and get shut of her in some clean way, and it seemed to me that when Jewel worked so to get her outen the river, he was going against God in a way, and then when Darl seen that it looked like one of us would have to do something, I can almost believe he done right in a way. But I don’t reckon nothing excuses setting fire to a man’s barn and endangering his stock and destroying his property. That’s how I reckon a man is crazy. That’s how he cant see eye to eye with other folks. And I reckon they aint nothing else to do with him but what the most folks say is right.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

the last book I ever read (William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, excerpt ten)

from As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner:

The cow watches us as we enter. She is backed into the corner, head lowered, still chewing though rapidly. But she makes no move. Jewel has paused, looking up, and suddenly we watch the entire floor to the loft dissolve. It just turns to fire; a faint litter of sparks rains down. He glances about. Back under the trough is a three legged milking stool. He catches it up and swings it into the planking of the rear wall. He splinters a plank, then another, a third; we tear the fragments away. While we are stooping to the opening something charges into us from behind. It is the cow; with a single whistling breath she rushes between us and through the gap and into the outer glare, her tail erect and rigid as a broom nailed upright to the end of her spine.