I have been reading a novel I have been working, but failing, to love--Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose, which so many people adore and which I am finding dull. The problem is likely just my own state of mind. My thoughts keep wandering back to the Plath poems and her daughter's words; then forward toward the closing days of my ever-more feeble dog, toward holiday responsibilities and college-application deadlines, toward classes I've agreed to teach but am not yet prepared for . . . then backward again, into the small local history of family, the faint reflections of listening to Dylan Thomas's Child's Christmas in Wales for the first time, when I was a child myself, and suddenly recognizing the pool of anecdote, sweetness, regret, fear, laughter that coheres into a local history . . . recognizing the future of the pool in my own life, but not having the story yet, just the bones of such a story, the one I was hearing . . . "All the Christmases roll down towards the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky. . . . "
As I said the other day, in the draft of a poem I was writing:
this is different.
This is the modern world.