Dec 27, 2014

Not Swann's Way, But My Way


Not Swann's Way, But My Way

Christmas eve, and I received a call from a friend whom I haven't seen for a very long time, and this, following a late summer call from my other friend, who dates from even further back in time - the early sixties - put me in a rather nostalgic mood, reverential of the remembrance of times, places, and events unfathomably past, all the things that indeed do, 'go bump in the night', and set the subconscious mind on journeys unimaginable during hours spent awake. I look forward to dreams, for they inevitably look backwards for their substance, to earlier times, to lichen encrusted years that still seem, even on introspection under the acid light of dawn, more benevolent, exciting and enjoyable, even if proved on scientific analysis, to be impossible. As we grow older, those of us who still retain real feelings, and the capacity for independent thought, are likely to be " A la recherch√© du temps perdu" 

The present landscape makes even that of 'Godot' seem bleak.

So, with a library of close to (perhaps over) 10,000 books, most of which I recognize on sight (more than I can say for people) I thought there must be a few among them that I might consider seminal in the evolution of the person I have become, for better, or for worse, as it is often said.

Two (perhaps more) of the dozen or so (or is that two dozen or so? Four score and ten?) writers I most admired during the 50's and 60's are still alive [Ferlinghetti and Snyder]. [I hope they have discovered how to cheat death, for after their inevitable departure, what is left? [Here I have conjured up stark images from Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" - a movie to disturb the tender psyche if anything will, but set them on edge for the rest of their brief lives. Ah, but I digress.

So, here are a very few of the books that during my early teens exerted a profound influence on the malleable me:

Goes without saying

I really liked Kerouac


Still a favorite

Carried in my pack, up and down the Pacific Coast, in the late fifties


As a twenty mile a day explorer of the less trodden peaks and canyons of the Sierra Nevada, this was kindling on the fire.


So, this is the real culprit, the book that (from those looking in) ruined my life. For those (me) looking out, caused it to explode into a kaleidoscopic fantasy.
And the others…………not enough bytes in the universe to list.