Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Once an action is, catharsis is (A Mandolin For Your Thoughts, 1)

I mentioned the other day that I started reading Corelli's Mandolin, and that it was pretty good. I got the book as a used book on sale from the local library; it apparently was originally owned, or used, by someone else. (She signed her name but I'm not going to post it here.)

Throughout the book so far, the Prior Bookowner has underlined various passages, and as I read, I began to try to figure out why she (it's a she) was underlining those passages. Was it that she liked the way they sounded? Was it that she thought they were particularly true, or untrue? Was it that she agreed with them or disagreed or wanted to point them out to herself in the future?

I may never know, because Prior Bookowner has passed on the book and all I'm left with is the book, and its underlined passages. But as I read on and noted more, I thought to myself: I bet there's something significant to this. Something artistic to this. Something that I could post on my blog and take credit for.

That's how I came up with what I'm calling:

A Mandolin For Your Thoughts:
Collected Notes Of The Prior Bookowner

Here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to post those underlined passages, in the order that Prior Bookowner has underlined them, and that is, I hope, going to form an Epic Free Verse Poem. What follows is that poem, formed entirely from the phrases Prior Bookowner underlined (with her handwritten notes included, in italics)

A Mandolin For Your Thoughts:
Collected Notes Of The Prior Bookowner


He nitrogenated the herbs in strict rotation, and tomorrow it would be the turn of the oregano.

Fascism is not merely a social and political revolution, it's cultural as well.
Whether they are Italians first or Jews.
Never forget; if the Armed Forces are the balls of Fascism, and I am its brains, you are its imagination.
Select an Albanian patriot for assassination,
Sink a Greek battleship in such a way that he was short of words even in his inner speech.

The self-anointed superior races, drunk on Darwin and nationalist hyperbole,
besotted with eugenics and beguiled by myth, were winding up machines of genocide,

Living up to her reputation as a scold.
Seventeen years old
She was proud and wilful.
Turkish culverin of solid brass
Mandras house
He first set eyes on Pelagia, Homosexual Carlo Piero Guercio,
The Symposium. Aristophanes explaining three sexes:
The men and women who loved
Men who loved men
The women who loved women.

Prime Minister Metaxas,
Lulu, my most beloved daughter:
History is the propaganda of the victors.
Senior officer by merit alone; it was done by browning the tongue.
Companies of Bersaglieri:
British military uniforms and Greek weapons, both proud to have been chosen.
We were deeply afraid.
Foolish jokes to conceal this.
The soldier also always has the fear that the authorities know more than he does
And that he does not know what is really happening, the fact,
And this makes him contemptuous,
Suspicious of authority.
We found that there is a wild excitement when the tension of waiting is done with,
And that sometimes this transforms,
A kind of demented sadism,
Once an action is, catharsis is.

Check back for part two once I read more of the book; and check here for something you can do like this.

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