Friday, January 13, 2012

You're Wasting Your Time... I've Made Up Your Mind

Morrissey seems to be one of those artists whom you either love or hate. This song was the first I heard of his, played for me by my then-friend/now-husband, which garnered him (my husband) a strange look and the comment, "This guy is seriously creepy." To which he replied with a grin. My husband is an extreme fan, having once traveled to Chicago to hear Morrissey at the Aragon ballroom and then flown back to KC to see him here two days later. (Oh, the lucky man.)

Needless to say I've become converted and now Morrissey's many songs, spanning the decades of his career, form part of the soundtrack of our home and our relationship. Morrissey quotes intersperse our conversations and the melodies evoke memories like few other sounds.

Here's to that late-night training session, Husband M.!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Law of Club and Fang

"The Fight", Barry Moser, illustrating The Call of the Wild
It's been years since I read The Call of the Wild, by Jack London. It held my interest now just as it did when I was twelve--who would not strain to follow the sad and descending path of that noble dog, Buck? I still gasped in horror when he was beaten by the man in the red sweater, still exalted when John Thornton saved his life, and still thrilled when he broke out and pulled for one hundred yards a sled with one thousand pounds of flour.

The impression that had remained with me was that of blood, of strife, of howling. And this time around it was confirmed. London, largely self-educated and a firm believer in the Darwinian gospel, traces Buck's progress as he loses the sheen of civilization applied by his birth in the warm Southland and connects with the atavistic power of his forebears. The book could hardly be called anything but The Call of the Wild, because in relentless, tight prose, London drives Buck toward answering that call. Buck quickly learns that mercy is seen as a form of fear, that if one loses one's footing the horde will devour one, and that man with a club is a god to be feared.

In the rough and brutal world of the Alaskan gold rush, men and dogs alike face physical and emotional challenges inconceivable to many on the Outside. Those who survive will be those who learn the laws that govern them and respect the great crashing forces of nature.

Our lives bear little resemblance to theirs, but that is perhaps part of the interest we have in reading this type of book. We cannot know whether the call of the wild would draw us or our dogs, because we've never gotten quite close enough to hear it. Through Jack London's ruthless prose, we can.

Have you contemplated the Law of Club and Fang? Any thoughts on The Call of the Wild?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Worn-out slippers

Loved this photo. As a girl I dreamed of dancing en pointe, as I'm sure many others did. The determination to make that happen didn't equal the idealistic images and I do not have any training in ballet. I do, however, still gasp and marvel like a little girl over the art and its implements.