The women in the group were not interested in baking or cooking or throwing a bunch of vegetables on a tray last night. Instead, we all, or nearly all, brought a bottle of wine. So there we sat, each with our own bottle of wine to drink...
Just kidding. But we could have. There was that much wine. I abstained due to overdoing it Sunday night at the CCA (we viewed Casablanca and watched people in the movie drink, then attended a reception and dinner where we got to do the drinking, while talking about the drinking in the movie, among other more important things).
Anyway, the book we discussed last night.
(Only I had my mom's 1969 college English class version, with notes, which was cool.)Yes, the powers that be chose the book because they wanted a movie night to go along with the book club meeting. I would not have chosen this book, because frankly I find it boring, but the conversation was okay.
This leads me to my point.
There is a reason I was a journalism major and not an English major. I can edit a book, talk about narrative action, stimulus-response, dialogue, hooks, holes, pace, etc. I CANNOT - and this is a deep and embarrassing confession here, so be gentle - keep up with conversations about, goodness, I don't even know what to say...and English-class conversation about literature. There.
I sit, and I listen, and I mostly appreciate (and sometimes scoff, because I'm an asshole), but I don't take part, because I don't know what to say.
Oh, yes, I agree...it's ironic that Gatsby (spoiler alert) dies because of mistaken identity when we're trying to figure out his real identity the whole time. I wouldn't have thought to add that to the conversation. Yes, I agree that the characters are two-dimensional and would love to talk about that, but that the story really jives well with poetry also published in the 1920s about hollow men (maybe I read that in college?) - that doesn't come to mind.
Back in my publishing-house days, I was in a book club with fellow editors. We had great discussions, but there was one gal in the group who would always find things in the text that I would NEVER have thought of. Is she just digging? I would think. Is this stuff really there? Did the author think through ALL OF THIS when he or she was writing? Because, man, I must be a really stupid person - and an even more shallow writer - if that is the case.
Me and poetry and - see, I still don't even know how to talk about it - we don't mix. But I don't want to give up. So two nights ago, I turned to the left and grabbed the first book of poetry I could find.
"The Works of Kipling"
But I'm not going to read it for the "deep stuff." I'm going to read it for story.
Am I stupid?