Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March 26, 2009

Dear Sis~
Just finished reading Moby Dick. What a great read it is! Anyone who loves language, who loves the skillful use of language, has to love this book. Written in 1850, the writing is definitely dense with colloquial syntax (it reminds me of James Fennimore Cooper or Joseph Conrad) but it's worth the effort for sure. Not only is it a grand adventure story, but the depth of the writing is superb. I'm sure modern-day literary critics would disparage Melville's style and call the book bloated, but a discerning reader can see the quality. I can't really say this is a book for young people (i.e., students) for, while they'll catch the main theme and grasp the underlying adventure story, it takes (in my opinion) a mature and well-read mind to appreciate the many subtle nuances of the writing, to plumb the depth of the author's intentions. There are multiple levels to Melville's writing in this book, many of which will escape the superficial reader. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Melville's vivid descriptions of the rolling oceans and the abundance of life they contain reminds me of how much I have always loved the sea, how the ocean always had an elemental attraction for me as far back as my memory reaches. Anytime I was on a boat or ship upon the deeper sea - whether it was the time you and me took that small cruise ship from Miami to Bimini with Dad, around 1961, or the times, later in life, when I took cruises to the Bahamas - being on the deck of a ship, with the sun on my back and a salty breeze in my face, and the dolphins racing along the bow waves, I felt incredibly alive, like an ancient explorer crossing uncharted waters. I think the oceans call to all humans; there's something in our DNA that harks back to the sea, or perhaps it's some more distant soul memory from a dimly perceived era of star ship captains and far-flung galaxies. Who knows?
Love, Bill

1 comment:

Kim Richards said...

Beautiful writing. Kim R