Summer heat interferes badly with my ability to concentrate. It’s hard to pick up a new book and absorb new information, so last month I re-read Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby, which I first read at age thirteen. (I was my first grown-up piece of literature.) Enjoyed it so much that I went through it twice. Hadn’t intended to do that when I started out, but the book is like a great string quartet, something I can listen to again and again with pleasure. You can open to any page at random and find a memorable phrase or sentence, often more than one. It strikes me very much as a writer’s book — that is, a book everyone who cares about words wishes he or she could write. I know the rap on FSF is that he left behind only a small body of enduring work, but damn, if I had written Gatsby, I would have been comfortable taking the next decade off, too.
The only other news is that I am enjoying this new computer keyboard I purchased this afternoon at Radio Shack. My old one (which was actually the second one I’ve used on this computer) was gradually losing its key functions. First the directions keys went, though I was able to compensate for that by using the redundant keys on the number pad. Then a couple of days ago I couldn’t get the w’s to print without hitting the key hard. Then, this morning, the w was gone completely, and so was the k. It’s one of those petty annoyances that, for me, at least, require immediate rectification, especially since I wanted to do some writing and blogging over the holiday — and what would this very clause look like without w’s or k’s? (I tell you what: and hat ould this very clause loo lie ithout ‘s or ‘s?) So I drove right out to Roosevelt Mall in NE Philadelphia and got a new one before doing anything else. So I learned something about myself today: I learned there is one thing I cannot force myself to live without. (And look at this W. Just look at it.)
Roosevelt Mall is a sad place these days, by the way. The best old stores are gone, and are a lot of vacancies.
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