I used to have a goal to read all the classics in my lifetime. I mean all of the classics. When my ex-husband and I split, one of the first things I took was his abridged set of the Harvard Classics. He brought the books into the marriage, but I was that determined to read all the classics, and that pissed off with him to claim the books as mine. I wanted to become so well versed in literature that I could hear someone tell the one about Kerouac, Steinbeck and Twain walking into a bar and actually be able to laugh at the joke. Without irony (everyone always seems to end a statement like that with, “without irony”).
I sincerely admire smart people, so I wanted to develop the sort of intellectual capacity that can work out an answer to the riddle, “Define the universe, and give three examples,” like my sister’s super-smart PhD brother-in-law did that time when we were gathered at her house for Christmas. I used to love to use that phrase as hyperbole when characterizing the complicated magnitude of an issue or situation. My sister’s brother-in-law ruined it forever for me when he answered, “Oh, well, there’s the universe as you see it, the way I see it, and the way another sees it.” He chuckled at his reply. I’m pretty sure with irony.
I’m nowhere near reaching my once-held goal of reading all classic literature. As it turns out, I enjoy contemporary authors far more, and I prefer the short story to the epic novel in four volumes. And, as embarrassing as it is to admit it, I struggle with poetry. So, my ill-gotten collection of Harvard Classics sits in the bookcase, on the bottom shelf, along with four volumes of Shakespeare’s plays given to me as a birthday gift, The Bible, and an odd variety of first edition publications of various dramatic works my mother took with her when she divorced her first husband. I guess I subconsciously followed her example. Anyway, there they all are. Pretty to look at, but otherwise undisturbed.
Speaking of my mother, today would have been her 89th birthday. One of my favorite stories about her is the time she mistook a small bowl of wasabi for guacamole, scooping a large dollop into her mouth with a corn chip. She literally sobbed in pain for the next hour and suffered acute heartburn for the next two days.
TBP’s Online Writer’s Guild #20 challenges YOU to write a piece using the following prompts: Kerouac, Steinbeck, Twain; Stop me if you’ve already heard this; Wasabi. I wrote/edited over the course of the morning, but I wrote the 1st draft in 40 minutes. The final version is about 10% changed from the first draft. I try to keep to the 25 minute rule, but always fail!