No, this off schedule appearance is not the proof EvKa is looking for of the dark side of AmA. That is coming next Monday. At least that’s the plan.
Today is Lisa’s turn, but she has caught a bug and needs to rest. We all want her to save her strength for her upcoming launch, and I volunteered to be her understudy for this Wednesday.
I reread the classics on a regular but very random basis. My latest foray into my literary past is Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness. I remember loving the book when I first read it as a student. What particularly bowled me over was the fact that the Polish man born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, who could not speak English fluently until he was in his twenties, wrote in his adopted language as brilliantly as he did. Now that I am a novelist myself, rereading his masterpiece is even more stunning than before. It seems like a magic trick.
I just started the book last night and am only just into the third chapter, but I have found new reasons to both identify with and stand in awe of the master. Here are a couple of quotes from the Part One, Chapter One that knock me out.
As many of you know, I am writing a series that takes place in British East Africa (now Kenya) just as the Brits are moving in and taking hegemony over what had been “unconquered” territory. Here is how Conrad describes such an endeavor. He was talking about the Roman invasion of the British Isles:
"They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force— nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind—as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness. The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea—something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to. ...’"
Oh how I wish I could have said something to compare even remotely with that!
My second excerpt tickles me for a completely different reason. If you read my post a few months ago about my vagabond nature, you may recall my childhood fascination with maps. I imagine my peripatetic blogmates may have had similar childhood fixations. Here is how Conrad describes his character Marlow’s:
"Now when I was a little chap I had a passion for maps. I would look for hours at South America, or Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration. At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, ‘When I grow up I will go there.’"
I’ll be going up the river with Conrad’s Marlow over the next few days. If you have never been there, I highly recommend you join me.
Annamaria, standing in for Lisa. Feel better SOON, darling friend.