Home > C. The Thinker As Hero, NN. Occasions > On Turning 54 (or Notes Toward a Supreme Potato Chip)

On Turning 54 (or Notes Toward a Supreme Potato Chip)

A couple of days ago, RT found himself in the local Books-a-Million. Now, RT has to admire anyone who sells books via a storefront; what with the competition from Amazon and company, the surge in self-publishing, and the efforts of the blogging community, margins are probably tighter than ever. And a quick inspection of the large shopping space revealed that BaM had an entirely respectable copy of Moby Dick on offer for under $20, Bart Ehrman’s Lost Scriptures and Lost Christianities tucked away on the far side of the store’s considerable selection of Bibles, and even a passable, though small, selection of poetry (heavy on Homer and The Inferno).

Wallace Stevens (and his essay, Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction) didn’t make the cut. Much might be made of the absence, perhaps even the failure of American literature (and poetry, above all) to produce the story-epic-novel that will unite us all in its glorious vision of the world. Where is the American Dante?

But RT is reluctant to announce the death of American society just yet. He will gladly admit that while he is beginning to make progress on viewing the movie Cloud Atlas, he has now watched two of the Twilight Saga movies, thereby garnering an image of Kristin Stewart to accompany him as he continues his journey into the problematic heart of his fifties. Middle-aged men will be middle-aged men.

Or will we? Somewhere, hidden deep in his unconscious, RT still harbors a writer’s ambition. Fifty-fourth birthday be damned! This writer will continue his slow, plodding progress toward finishing Gilgamesh, toward publishing his mother’s memoirs, and toward whatever writing projects his reading might lead him. What’s on the bedside stand these days? The Gardens of Light, a novel about the life of the prophet Mani (definitely worth the read). RT will continue to write until he is found dead at his keyboard (or at least in the loving arms of Kristin Stewart). If a supreme fiction doesn’t exist, then we need to act as if there is one. Through the work of thousands and thousands of authors, we are making our way home.

In the meantime, a supreme potato chip will have to sustain us. There are worse fates.    RT

PhotographA Pile of The Real McCoy’s Potato Chips; author: Paul Hurst. WikiCmns; CC-By-SA-2.5, 2.0.

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  1. June 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Just wait for the joys of the sixties. :-)

  2. June 13, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    “Through the work of thousands and thousands of authors, we are making our way home.” I find this wonderfully comforting – this is a journey worth taking and one that inspires and nourishes our lives. Just as much as that photo of those delightful, golden potato chips – Aubrey craves chips and potato salad more than any sweet.

    Anyway, happy birthday – Aubrey sneers at the 50’s, as she’s almost beyond them. Was your birthday a recent one? (mine was exactly one week ago)

    I believe that we should continue to make a mockery of age. Let it be damned, indeed.

    • July 1, 2014 at 3:57 am

      aubrey: thank for the wish, even if my thanks are belated, it’s always a bit of sweetness to anticipate how i will respond to one of your lovely comments. & let me start by wishing you happy birthday…and if next year or the next after that, you turn 60, so what? you’re still gifted and fun to be with…you will take your beauty with you all the way to the end, and doubtless over the brink… RT

  3. July 1, 2014 at 3:52 am

    margo: i’ve been speechless contemplating what the next decade will bring…maybe more life, when i (we) least expect it…but surely more conversations with good friends… RT

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