Saturday, May 25, 2024

Yay Douglas Stuart

So … I went to fitness, and for the first time (in 3 years) Rhonda had to cancel the class for personal reasons. (Her mom is ill.) I did not read the email that comes before every class because I was excited about returning to the class, but Romola was there to fill in the stupids like me who didn’t read her missive.

I drove home in the rain to read until lunchtime. A fair while ago I read a book titled Shuggie Bain. It was written by Douglas Stuart. It tells a grim tale that is exquisitely written. I loved reading it and its soul has stayed in me. When I was 10 years old, I moved into the basement of my home. I was usually alone in my room when I was home with the Tyrells, so now I was in a room with books and a fireplace, and it was two floors removed from their bedroom.

I read almost all of them because they were there. There were cartoon books about war. They were my first step into understanding how dreadful human beings can be. Herbie was a diary of a soldier in drawings and words. There was a great collection of international literary masterpieces that were abridged for children. I loved that collection. And there was the collected work of Charles Dickens.

I read every one of Dickens’ novels. I bless the day I moved into the basement. Reading all those novels thrilled me. I knew nothings of those times. I think they were an ideal introduction to reading. Things moved so quickly in his novels, and as I read my imagination created extraordinary visions of the settings and costumes. But most of all, I loved escaping into Dickens’ world, and out of mine.

Reading Shuggie Bain was as seductive. The vocabulary and the accents of the dialogue are just delicious to read, but tough going at first. These books linger in my mind because they are so thick with atmosphere. I can’t escape the cliché: I am transported to another world, and I feel that I go deeply into it.

When I went for dinner and Steve and Dan’s place, Dan have me a book he’s just finished. It’s called Young Mungo. I don’t read the back or anything, I go directly to the beginning of the book to see how things go—especially with books I haven’t chosen. Two paragraphs into the book, and I’m thinking, “Holy fuck, who is this?” I look on the back of the book’s cover (It’s hard back), and it’s … Douglas Stuart!

There’s some blue sky this morning, but it’s been raining. I’m thrilled for the garden beds, and I’m happy to read and putter through the day. I’m meeting Darryl for lunch at Ground Up. 

No comments: