Talk about your stories and your books — it’s an old fashioned Merry Christmas here in Carter Library. This morning, Lyra pointed me towards a David Foster Wallace essay on Roger Federer. I believe her instructions were, “you must stop what you’re doing and read it right now.” I did. She was right. Check out this little blurb:
“Beauty is not the goal of competitive sports, but high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty. The relation is roughly that of courage to war. The human beauty we’re talking about here is beauty of a particular type; it might be called kinetic beauty. Its power and appeal are universal. It has nothing to do with sex or cultural norms. What it seems to have to do with, really, is human beings’ reconciliation with the fact of having a body.”
Reading it also made me miss DFW. What a loss. I could never get going with his fiction, but his essays were (are) a treat. His collection, CONSIDER THE LOBSTER, remains my favorite book of essays (anybody’s essays).
Then the mail came with its usual bills and junk, but also –finally — with Alexandra Styron’s READING MY FATHER. I’ve been watching the mailbox like a school kid for 5 days wondering where is it. I have a friend coming into town this afternoon and she’s staying with us through Thursday, so I doubt I’ll get much reading done, but I’ll be looking forward to the few pages I can sneak in each night before sleep zaps me.
And if that wasn’t enough, the special mail delivery flung a big brown box onto the steps with some first editions we’d ordered, including gifts for a few of my favorite professors. I can’t wait to drop those off next week at the university, the best thank you’s I could think of for those few who made my grad school experience fun. The fact remains: there’s nothing quite like having teachers who love to teach. Thank you Sam, Bob, and John — I already miss you and your classes.
Merry Christmas everybody …
What an extraordinary gift to give your professors. I like you, Teri!
Thanks Jody — I hope you enjoyed your time in Palo Alto with your family.
There really is nothing like a good teacher, particularly the ones who, you can tell, love teaching. Thankfully we’re never too old to receive their gifts.
I agree on both counts!
awww…sweet, sweet books in the mail. they’re like hickies from kenickie. i love getting books in the mail. sometimes, i purposely buy a book online just so i have the pleasure of being surprised when it shows up packaged in cardboard, waiting for me on my front porch. like an old friend or new neighbor who has come to visit.
yes yes yes on Consider the Lobster. (although, ever since LIT, i can’t think of him now outside of his short-lived romance with MK)
Kenickie!!!! OMG. I also now think of DFW now having knock-down-drag-out fights with MK, how volatile that relationship must have been. And the letters he used to write to her…
I am so glad you loved it! One of my favorite lines from you is that you read something as long as it “sets me on fire”. That is David Foster Wallace’s essays to me. And to boot, I don’t follow tennis.
My goal is to write a novel that sets people on fire, my dear. You have set the stage.
I hope you ordered Dante’s Inferno for the one professor? You know the one…
That one professor is getting a lump of coal, I believe…
I’ve got one more for you. When you get a chance, e-mail me your address.
Correction. I mean send me your e-mail address, not your home address.