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13 attic shapes As she carries one of the three big cardboard boxes that contain my dissertation notes up to their storage space in the attic, my wife asks, as she asked the last time we moved, “Why don’t you just throw this old stuff away?” OK, that’s a valid question. The boxes are old and heavy. They are not, perhaps, in the strictest sense, necessary. But how to explain to her that three years of my life went into filling them up with notebook after notebook of important observations and reflections? That what I had to say between 1986 and 1988 regarding the lesser odes of Keats was considered interesting by my dissertation advisor, whose notes appear beside mine in the margins of the yellowing pages in a kind of scholarly pas de deux compiled over hundreds of hours, thus increasing the magnitude of loss throwing my boxes away would result in. Furthermore, I was alive during those years, not merely sitting all day in Beresford Memorial Library, but rising full of hope and courage on vibrant spring mornings, taking solitary walks after midnight under distant icy galaxies, brooding significantly, drinking cheap beer at the University Inn with Steve and Craig and Ken the cokehead, making love for a whole summer with the sensational but ultimately deranged Annie (who became important in Dickinson), believing, then not believing, then believing in my “gift,” as Professor G— unforgettably described it. My gift! 14 I pause on the landing, struggling to put this into words (leaving out the part about Annie), but it just comes out sounding kind of lame, like, “Well, someday I might go back and rework it into a book, possibly,” although no way will that happen, ever, if I’m being totally honest with myself. But she’s already heading down the stairs to pick up one of the boxes of LPs from my rebel period of complicated post-adolescent unhappiness, which I have not listened to in forty years, nor do I have a turntable any longer, even if I could bear to hear them, which I could not, reminding me as they do of a time too painful with hopeless yearning, and too beautiful with poetic self-pity, and generally too terrible with loneliness and mystical confusion, either to hear again or ever throw away. ...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780822979623
Related ISBN
9780822962687
MARC Record
OCLC
870684332
Pages
72
Launched on MUSE
2014-02-18
Language
English
Open Access
No
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