Saturday, March 01, 2008
The Memes of March
Says our correspodent Josie:
I love this meme. Finally, an intelligent meme. Cedarflame has tagged me with this meme, and I challenge everyone to try it.
1. Grab the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
2. Open it to page 123.
3. Find the first 5 sentences and write them down.
4.Then invite 5 friends to do the same
Say I :
I have given up on not only memes, but the reading of The Dogs of March, by one Ernest Hebert.
It's about a barely literate factory foreman in New Hampshire whose plant has been outsourced, of course, let go. His wife suffers from hysterical paralysis. His daughter brings only sorrow. His rich new neighbour is scheming to take over his farm. Even his son rejects him. His bare literacy makes it difficult for him to articulate his feelings as he tries to cope with changing world. Poor Howard.
And so in Howard-- as in the marauding dogs around his farm who relentlessly hunt down helpless deer in the snow-- there is a sudden surge of anarchy.
Well Yippie Shit. What else is new?
It is the kind of novel all of us lower-level managers write." My life and welcome to it" sort of thing.
Two reasons why I don't like the book.
1) Mr. March got got an MFA scholarship at Stanford University, where I was turned down for a similar scholarship by the late Wallace Stegner, head of Stanford's Creative Writing program...I guess I'm just plain jealous; I had to settle for a satellite campus of the University of California, in Mexico, where I finally got not only a scholarship, but a fellowship.
2) Possibly because I'm jealous, I find Ernest Hebert's hero, Howard Elman a crashing bore of an idiot with a mechanical bent.
Anyway, I opened Ernest Hebert's The Dogs of March on page 123, as in the rules of the meme, and here are the five paragraphs as I was instructed to supply:
They rarely came in all at once like this, Arlene explained; usually they appeared in ones and twos. It was the time of year. Like everybody else, the Jordans were nervous in their houses.
Zoe asked about the strange, dull shine on their faces, which looked like old plastic toys.
"Not your usual precise answer, Arlene," said Harold. In fact, it's kitchen grease and wood smoke. The shanty people all take on that complexion in winter. Wood-stove tan."
"Ignorance," accused Arlene."
"Deep ignorance," said Harold. "Ignorance upon ignorance, like rocks in a rock wall."
You wanna play this meme? Yes? No?
Personally, I hate memes, but since this one came from good friend Josie, I have taken a minute or two off regular blogging.
Note: For all of my irritation with memes, I must say I had something of an object lesson in reading at least a part of Mr. Hebert's book.
Are not all of us middle managers a lot like Mr. Hebert's Howard?....Hm. Dare I steal a peach? Pretty good premiss for a novel, actually.