Next on the recovery-literature docket: Trollope's Orley Farm . . . so long as all the pages don't start falling out, which is a definite possibility. Here's hoping that when I get back from the Frost Place I'll have rediscovered my ambitions and be able to return to the Pennsylvania project.
Now, as comic relief, I offer you the headline of an advertisement in the New York Review of Books:
"Discover How to Write about Anything"
Apparently, by way of these very expensive recorded lectures I can learn "how the unique styles and characteristics of fiction, essay, poetry, drama, and autobiography can inform [my] voice." Also, the professor assures me "that writing should always feel like an enjoyable process of self-discovery."
I tell you: there ought to be a law against perky defamations of the artistic endeavor. Maybe we could have warning labels, like on cigarette packages. Warning: Looking at this painting may make you feel worse than you did before you arrived the museum. Warning: Writing a good poem will in all likelihood leave you empty and slightly ill. Warning: Do not believe you will conquer the elusive, insurmountable aggravations of photographic printing. Warning: You'll never be as great a novelist as Dickens.