Fit the LAST

Something drastic has occured: I’ve suspended delivery of Confessions of an Opium Eater. I always finish books I start, even if it’s terrible. But I could suffer no longer, and went to DailyLit (a service that emails installments of a selection of books) and suspended it. You know what–I feel great. Light as a feather. Free.

Why do I feel a compulsion to finish? It’s gives a sense of completeness to my negative judgement, but why else? If it’s really terrible, why woudl I care about the end? It’s as if I had a duty to finish anything I pick up. If only that extended past my reading habits! It is much easier to quit a DailyLit subscription–they cater to a variety of tastes if you want to fit some literature in your workaday lives.

However, this is not quite Fit the Last. I’m still reading the Hunting of the Snark, which never ceases to bring a smile to my face. The beaver and butcher (or is it the bellman?) have become friends, and the company has discussed means of catching the Snark. Mostly the traditional ones, such as hunt it with a thimble and care and such stuff. Recently, the barrister had a dream, attempting to prove that lace-making would not help to find the Snark. The Snark took over the courtroom.

I would totally buy a Snark suffed animal. I wonder what it would look like. Would it make me vanish? No, that’s the Bojum. Now that’s a nasty beast.

Fit the Second: Styles and Times

Some authors are in step with their time; others seem to write worlds outside of it. One way is not inherently better than the other. However, in Carrol one greatly enjoys his departure from Victorianism in his childs poem. While I keep reading de Quincey, I am not enjoying the way he exercises the style of his era, using it as an excuse to tell the most dull details of his childhood as a wordy confession of–nothing!
Carrol’s musical nosense is so much more than Sussical. It’s really brilliant, topsy-turvy–fun–but with harmonious internal order that extends to the logically played-out rules of his world, even if the world he depicts is going snark hunting. In some ways, his language is very caught up in the Victorian culture of his day, but his subjects and the made up vocabulary he uses to match it are outside of what we typically think of as Victorian. The stories he tells are children’s stories, and his work can be seen as a method of escape. Despite the trappings of Victorianism, it’s hatboxes and tea ceremonys and mannerly insistence on order, Carrol uses fiction as an escape valve, with the joy of a child throwing his mother’s clothes on the floor and writing on the walls in red lipstick.
Thomas de Quincy can go shove it. I slogged through another installment, and like Sysphis have slight concerns I might have to repeat the effort tommorow all for naught. This long-winded autobiography should not be entitled “Confessions of an Opium Eater”–he does not confess. I wish he would. I am distinctly uninterseted in his excellent command of Greek and his views on the manners of bishops. However, if one wants insight into the typical style of Regency England, it’s quite appropriate. It’s all Jane Austen avoided in her social satire–de Quincy would have been a tiresome bore who fancied himself quite the revolutionary. In some way, his novel inspires me. I’m going to come up with a very sensational title, then write a weather report. Maybe posterity will keep getting tricked in to reading me.

Fit the First

Confession of an Opium Admirer:

After sleeping in on this grey morning, I read more of Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an Opium Eater, which so far has been platitudes and childhood autobiography instead of those sordid details I craved. I thought of the tasks and chores before me this morning and afternoon, and how much chillier it outside, and the trouble of getting dressed, and–I confess– opium eating sounds delightful. Opium sounds like the sport of bedside philosophers, princes of thought, and the coffee I have in my hand the bitter encouragement given to worker ants.

Poor lost snark hunters, with no opium to comfort them

After all, there’s a reason that I am reading the Confessions concurrent to Lewis Carrol’s The Hunting of the Snark. Either the Confessions need to pan out more, or I need to secure some opium.