Wednesday, November 5, 2008

mental november

I'm not going to write about the same thing that 99% of the other bloggers in the world are likely writing about today.

I'm going to write about Herman Melville. I love Melville. Of course, as is my habit, I even mention him in one of the books I've written. This also explains my references to, and reverence for, Nathaniel Hawthorne, for those out there who know a little bit about these writers.

There's a lot about Melville I can empathize with, too. He devoted himself, poured himself, into his writing, often at great personal expense; and although Melville attempted to make his living from writing fiction, he struggled with finances and even his sanity.


In Moby-Dick, or The Whale, Melville crafts some of the finest prose I've read (and I will admit openly that 19th-century American fiction is an acquired taste, so don't go out there and buy anything you can find from Melville just because I said it was good). In the opening pages, the narrator, Ishmael, talks about his need to get away from land, saying his journeys become necessary... Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses...

I mention the passage from Ishmael's thoughts because I can empathize with that, too.

So, I'm going to pack (I always somehow delay this part until I'm on the brink of missing my flight), my passport is in my pocket, and I'm leaving for a while. Oh... barring any unforseen events of a religious magnitude, I will be back next week sometime, but this (or possibly an early shot tomorrow morning) will be my last post for a while.