Farewell, into the wild. . .
I write my last post for True/Slant a bit worn out from a full day of kayaking yesterday. It was easy river kayaking, mainly, with just one madly technical section of Class 2 stuff, but a full day of paddling and some porting in the sun saps you a bit.
The sights and experiences were very nice: Osprey and kingfishers working the water. The boughs of huge sycamores whispering in the breeze. A shore nap of 15 minutes that felt like an hour full of dreams. A dash of adrenaline while being spun in the rapids.
Thanks for reading the Beaufinn blog. It was fun. If you would like to continue along, this blog will migrate to www.beaufinn.com/blog (or some iteration of that; Google the name) by mid-August. Web designers really slow down in the heat, don’t they?
What’s next for me? Working two contract writing jobs (corporate stuff), teaching at The College of New Jersey this fall, and staying on the ever-present quest, along with my agent, to sell one or all of the novels. Beyond that, I’d like to finally put some serious effort into the kind of mountain climbing/trekking I’d like to do. I might start in the Shawangunks, in the Catskills. I should, however, set some summiting goals for the next decade.
I have two requests of you, Beaufinn reader:
1. (Re)Read Deliverance: Yeah, yeah — macho white guys in canoes, etc. etc. Having studied with the man who write this magnificently original American narrative, I was always galled by the fact that in popular memory the story boiled down to Ned Beatty and some banjo playing (popular memory = didn’t read the novel and can’t remember much about the film).
This story is powerfully sublime; what lurks under the obvious physical action is moving and troubling, and stays in the mind for weeks after reading. Dickey wrote a very straight story in a time of postmodern literary experimentation, but the story is anything but easy. It is one of those novels you must read to understand a bit about America, particularly at a certain time (the early 1970s).
Also, read it for the wonderful owl scene, which occurs early in the action. This scene is not in the film version, but it is the strongest symbolic connector to Dickey’s poetry in the whole novel.
After that, if you can tackle the novel Dickey wrote after Deliverance, a tome called Alnilam, you’re ready for your PhD.
2. Once a week, disappear for half an hour: That’s a tough one for parents and people with demanding jobs. Maybe cut that to 15 minutes, but for that 15 minutes, belong to your own country — a one-person country located in a wholly unspecified place. Maybe you already do this, and can swing it for an hour. That’s good — now try for two hours.
Get free of the beeps, bings, pings, bongs, shouts, and the “Hey, where are you?” Leave the cell phone or PDA in the car or under a rock, give away your GPS unit, and go someplace that only you know, and only you know where you are.
Go off the grid, just for a short time. Clear your mind of the digital flotsam. You’ll be back “in network” soon enough.
You won’t need a map. Good luck.
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