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Posts Tagged ‘walker percy’

I wrote 1876 words today.

I am pretty impressed with myself. This may be an insignificant word count for some, but for me, in a month that is not November, it is something I can feel good about.

Somewhere around word number 1723, however, it occurred to me that I am trying to jam two stories into the space of one. I will think about this, but I will not let it stop me.

(I am afraid that it will stop me of its own accord, but if that happens, it happens. I will not panic about deadlines and the fact that my students turn in 19 essays to me on Monday. Nope.)

~~~

Today I also finished The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy. It deserves some ruminating over. Having taught an essay of his for two semesters, I can definitely recognize his philosophy in his writing; but I don’t entirely know what to make of the ending.

The main character is really wacky–bouts of amnesia, uncertainty of his own identity, a nervous twitch in his knee, hearing “ravenous particles” in the air–and you are put so much in his head amid all that wackiness that it strikes you as weird that people treat him as normal. I enjoyed this, because I am writing about wacky characters right now. (In fact, I’m concerned that my current main character isn’t quite wacky enough, or that his wackiness needs to be more obvious. Something else to think about.)

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“A young man am I, twenty-nine, but I am as full of dreams as an ancient.”

I really want to see this.

I have been teaching a chapter from Walker Percy’s The Message in the Bottle to my college freshmen for two semesters now, and it wasn’t until around October that I realized he was a novelist. My cousin, who is finishing her associate’s degree at Franciscan University, was reading one of his books for class.

Since then I’ve been learning more and more about him without seeking anything out. Flannery O’Connor talks about The Moviegoer in her letters, and even wrote to him (although I don’t believe they had a regular correspondence). Maud Newton, from whose blog I snagged this video, has posted about him a couple times. The more I hear, the more interested I become, and The Moviegoer is currently pretty high on my to-read list.

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