Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Byron's letters

I was copying Byron’s letters from college for my students this morning. What a voice! One, to his solicitor, begins (quoting from memory) “Your last letter came with much advice but no money. The former I can excuse for all think themselves well-equipped to offer advice, but..” All I can think is how I need to write like him—the voice satiric, imperious.

Then, from the left flank, come memories of Leonard Bast styling himself after Ruskin in Howards End, Forster mocking the mismatch between the basement apartment and the noble prose. And I remember that I already have written on Woolf’s indulgent mockery of Bernard styling himself after Byron in The Waves.

That’s the February dilemma: on the one side, the roots are beginning to stir (my writing group meets in two weeks, so we’re beginning to exchange tentative little emails—I’m not as far as I’d hoped, but I’ll see you there, etc.: and my project for tonight was to comment on someone’s writing how-to guide), on the other, I feel like a block of granite. Frozen. Depressed. Dulled.

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