Wednesday – Rosy Redux
Early this morning I was reading the ‘Preface’ Italo Calvino wrote for his book “The Path to the Spiders’ Nests”. The book was originally published in 1947 and this preface written 17 years later, in ’64. He had gone back twice in those intervening years and made substantial changes to the book, adding here and there but mostly deleting – passages, sections, sentences, adjectives – writing he had come to feel was over the top, somewhat dishonoring his writerly intentions. “Spiders’ Nests” was his first published book.
I began thinking, while reading, about what you maybe might call a ‘preface’ to my book “Ring Around the Rosy – my first published book. Six paragraphs, beginning with “All the people in this story…” and ending “Here we go.” The story itself – the who and what happened to them and what they did about it – began with paragraph seven, yet I’d felt a need to comment on what I saw as political/cultural realities and sadnesses here in our country at the time, “Rosy” published in 2017. Figuring, I guess, if they (prospective reader) read the book they’d have to read my witty and knowing ‘intro’.
I tell you now, this Wednesday, I have regretted that decision many times these last four years. I’m a storyteller, and the story began on paragraph seven. All the cutesy stuff preceding should have gotten an editorial ax. Yes, I’ve felt that sense of cheating my writing self many, many times. And reading Calvino’s “Preface” this morning brought it up again. So I went to the pile of unsold Rosy’s over there in the corner and reread paragraph numbers one through six.
And you know – they didn’t feel so bad. I didn’t feel so bad. Not with the way things are now. Not with the endless evil and cruelty, all the inhumanity, with bottomless stupidity as an art form. Fascism all about us. In fact, they kind of felt a little ‘Cronkite-ian’. – “And that’s the way it is.”
Yes, writing my very first book again, if given the chance, I would not include them. It was kind of playing with myself…..in public. But…….
Well, here are graphs three, four, and five. What do you think?
“Ah, the irony of it all. Think of all those folks who growled and grimaced and uttered threatening sounds about the big lie of global warming and depleting ozones and all that scientific hoodoo the liberals and their white-smocked allies were making up, creating out of the thin blue just so’s to come up with more money for projects, and of course more taxes on the little guys like you and me, fuckin’ A, …….and now think about those anti-science dickheads today, little teeny piles of ashes who, in fact, do not have an answer now that they’re blowing in the wind. Again, the Big Ooops.
“Of course if it was just them – the neo-fascist right wing evangelical everyone’s going to hell and burn except us folks – well, you might decide there was some brand of twisted justice if they was all of it. If you were particularly insensitive and generally a hippie black panther green party union loving Bolshevik that is. But, in this case, where that lucky old sun gets the last laugh, it all evened out, ideology not withstanding, when everyone not somewhere deep beneath the planet’s surface became a smore sometime in the big circle 24-hour space fry that began at precisely 11:24 a.m., August 13, 2018 and lasted – planet wide, moving along across the fun-loving latitudes and longitudes – for a little more than 24 hours until just about noon the 14th.
“But, for the sake of telling this story, let’s begin again, at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday the 13th. here at the Eelaham Southeast Coastal Aquarium, east of downtown New Bedford, Massachusetts. Off Route 6, little old Route 6 that runs all the way from Long Beach, California and directly past the entrance of this aquarium right out to the tip of old Cape Cod, which of course,after the fact, now resembles a Frito covered in bean dip and left in the microwave, on high, for an hour and a half.”
So, yeah – here we go….