Although I’m not a book blogger, I know quite a few of those people and read them with relish. The thing is that I love reading and really enjoy pulling my favourite parts out of books, but I rarely feel I do a book justice when I try to review it. I suppose I could do it if I planned a bit better, or practiced assembling a thorough and insightful approach to the works I’d read. That’s certainly an option.
So much of my daily life consists of time management and prioritising that I’d rather let this platform be where I go a bit more free-form. It seems to be working thus far. I truly enjoy the positive feedback about what I do here. Please keep it coming. The more you stroke my ego, the more likely I am to continue creating this content. It’s all on you.
Recently, a group of us read Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos, and try as I might, I just couldn’t bring myself to talk about it here. I was knee-deep in pre World War I euphoria and the hypocrisy of Prohibition, but I just didn’t know where to start describing my related thoughts.
then I was flipping through my copy of the book, and I came upon a thought. I’d simply share one of my favourite passages. Not try to encapsulate the whole work – just a brief moment in time.
Jimmy has just had a serious talk with his uncle about his future. It’s one of those ‘Ok, you’ve enjoyed yourself up to now, but now it’s time to buckle down to real life‘ sort of conversations, and afterward Jimmy’s a bit disoriented. I’ll let the writer take it from there:
‘His stomach turns a somersault with the drop of the elevator. He steps out into the crowded marble hall. For a moment not knowing which way to go, he stands back against the wall with his hands in his pockets, watching people elbow their way through the perpetually revolving doors; softcheeked girls chewing gum, hatchetfaced girls with bangs, creamfaced boys his own age, young toughs with their hats on one side, sweatyfaced messengers, crisscross glances, sauntering hips, red jowels masticating cigars, sallow concave faces, flat bodies of young men and women, paunched bodies of elderly men, all elbowing, shoving, shuffling, fed into two endless tapes through the revolving doors out into Broadway, in off Broadway. Jimmy fed in a tape in and out the revolving doors, noon and night and morning, the revolving doors grinding out his years like sausage meat. All of a sudden his muscles stiffen. Uncle Jeff and his office can go plumb to hell. The words are so loud inside him he glances to one side and the other to see if anyone heard him say that.’
Can you see why I like that? It’s this kid facing cold, hard reality and saying, ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore,‘ which is what Howard Beale says in the 1976 film Network. But Howard Beale was saying that at the tail end of a career in broadcasting, and young Jimmy comes to the realisation right at the outset of his working life.
Look, I know how important it is to be reliable and responsible. It’s a part of maturity to not just stand up and say whatever the hell comes into your mind. I get that. Yet it’s good for me to remember that I’m not merely a slab of meat to be squeezed into tubes of sausage.
Sometimes life is but a dream. And me? My plan is to keep dreaming on.