Thursday, April 25, 2013

the last book I ever read (Jim Harrison's The River Swimmer, excerpt eleven)

from The River Swimmer: Novellas (The River Swimmer) by Jim Harrison:

The young scholar from Michigan State said that poets and novelists were whores for language, that they would give anything for something good. Thad easily accepted the idea that he was a whore for swimming, the only activity that gave him total pleasure and a sense of absolutely belonging on Earth, especially swimming in rivers with the current carrying your water-enveloped body along at its own speed. It was bliss to him so why shouldn’t he be obsessed? And if Emily wanted to take him swimming in Costa Rica it was only another kind of whoredom. What was at issue except pride? The classic “I can’t be bought” but then I can. He would anyway end up selling his life for a job like anyone else, including his dad putting out oil well fires or his mother donating her life to the farm. It’s just what people did. He could even imagine doing so at the age Grandpa had been when he died, eighty-one, an old man heading downriver. A teacher had told him that for most of his life the great James Joyce had to be supported by a woman named Sylvia Beach. But he didn’t say where she had gotten the money to begin with. Was there truly dirty money? Or was it purified by rotation and use.

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