Friday, June 28, 2013

TWO KINDS of people, those living by Will and those by Imagination

This is that same Viva geranium, as filtered through the Holga setting in Picasa. It's like looking out of a cave   into the light through a spiderweb-shrouded dusty window. Today, as I was hauling a stack of books upstairs to get them out of the living area, I had the sudden insight that I relate best to other people through the medium of books! I read things that some of the other people in my life like because they like them! I read motorcycle travel adventures that my son recommends, for instance. They are pretty cool! There's been a new Paris Review burning a hole in my patience for several days. I had seen there were THREE interviews in this issue. As you can probably tell, biography is just about my favorite form of book. And I LOVE interviews! There wasn't much time today, but I managed to finish the PR Interview with fabulous, much honored biographer Michael Holroyd. This is amazingly interesting and even more full of wonders than the usual PR Interview. For rhose who hadn't found it yet, the Paris Review has placed ALL of its interviews online. FREE. Since the mid-1950s! Enough reading for this lifetime and the next. Get started tonight (or tomorrow.)

I will have to finish my discussion of this Paris Review over the next few days, since I have been away from this post an hour or so looking for photos of my cousin, Dwayne, to post an In Memoriam on Facebook. I just learned that he died last Tuesday. We had such a lovely visit in Mesa, Arizona, a couple of years ago. I was hoping to get back in a year or so!
NOTE: Visit the people you love whenever you can. Tell them you love them!

I'll talk more about the Michael Holroyd Interview later--there is enough in that one article for a week of posting. But I want to give you this one paragraph for tonight. Think about it!!!

"Interviewer: How do you choose your subjects?

Holroyd: My very first subject, Hugh Kingsmill, was an accidental subject. I came across his writings and his books in a public library, which in a sense was my university. One reason he appealed to me is that he believed life was divided not between men and women, Tory and Labour, or one nationality and another, but between people of will and of imagination, all of whom sought a sort of unity. People of will often did so by force. Those of imagination detected a harmony underlying the discord of our lives. And that latter idea was very pleasant to me, because it appealed to my laziness. It meant I didn't have to go out and fight, and, after having done National Service in the Army, this was an attractive alternative. So I wrote about Kingsmill. I particularly liked his little book on the writer and editor Frank Harris, which seemed to me a wonderful mixture of irony and lyricism/ And a minor subject in that book was Lytton Strachey, because Kingsmill was considered a follower of Strachey, who evolved into my next subject. That happened again with Augustus John, who appeared in Strachey, and then with Shaw, who appeared in Augustus John. And so it has gone on. It gives me the illusion of them choosing me, rather than me choosing them."
Paris Review, 205, pages 46 and 47.

In thinking about this paragraph, don't get taken in by Holroyd's modesty. He has written very long books on very important and well-documented people, and is clearly not lazy, or drift-along. What I'd like you to think about is that division of people into those living by will or those living by imagination. Try to think about people you have known and see whether you get any new insights this way. It seems very interesting to me. And with that flat sentence, I'll say good night, and get to bed!
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1 comment:

  1. I have been sitting here for the last few minutes reading your wonderful comments and insights. I rarely sit these days it seems to when I do I hope that it is for something meaningful..and today it was just that! June, you are truly gifted...and your photography as always is wonderful and moving.