Contemplation on Woolf versus Thompson
I’m not going to lie, our last author episode was 3, almost 4, weeks ago now, plus one for prep. And I am still reading what I started. Now, I don’t consume literature at the speed of light - although, I can, and have, I choose not to anymore for reasons I will lay out in another blog another time. I prefer, at least right now, to take my time and read when I can, without any applied pressure to finish in any amount of time - sans the urge to try for the podcast, but nonetheless, it’s fine if I don’t.
So, my copy of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” still sits on my lamp/nightstand shelf with “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying,” “To The Lighthouse,” “The Little Book of Feminist Saints,” “Codependent No More,” and a paperback journal, amongst a few other things. It sounds so devious if I leave it at that, “a few other things,” lol. But really it’s just a coin jar, a couple stones, a knick knack statue, a pencil, a clip on book light, and an empty water cup.
Do you care? The point is, I keep choosing and coming back to our last author and book - out of all of the ones available at my fingertips, and, out of another with kind of a larger priority right now. What does that to us in literature that keeps us coming back?
I wondered this, laying on my bed, home early from work, snowed in, taking a moment of peace and comfort, staring at which book I wanted to read next.
What I want to read, I thought to myself, is Thompson. What I should read is Woolf in preparation for the podcast, was my next thought.
I like Woolf - actually, I love Woolf. I find her narration and style relatable. I find that reading her physically rather than listening - or even rather than seeing a visual rendition of her work like a movie - is so much more satisfying. I find her complex and both outwardly and inwardly observant. I’m in my head so much, stream-of-consciousness just makes sense.
My discovery of Woolf, in the early years of my undergraduate literature studies, was a breath of fresh air. But, I think now, that maybe it was comparative. And, maybe, my writing is, or was, more or less like hers than other authors because her style was something I could grasp onto and emulate easily at the time.
The truth is, I have been so excited to pick her back up. I have been so excited to talk about this with people not on a discussion board; with people who also care. Yet, here I am, finding myself choosing something way different.
Quite frankly, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is something I very apologetically must admit that I probably wouldn’t have picked up. Even though I should. Even though I’d like it. Even though I didn’t really know anything about it. For no reason, really. I just wouldn’t have? If that makes sense. Yet, here I am.
I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here. Maybe, try something you wouldn’t? Or, maybe look into things you hear about because you never know what you might stumble on that you like? I think that sounds about right, sprinkled in with a little bit of don’t put unnecessary and/or unrealistic goals on the things you enjoy. I’m not rushing this book and I’m not forcing Woolf on myself. I want to be excited about her too. I am. I don’t think I’m not. But I don’t need to force it. I’ll get to reading her this week. And I’ll have something on the podcast still to say. But it’s okay if it goes unfinished - or if I don’t finish it again for weeks or months on end. I don’t have to approach books as assignments, or goals, or anything but people to meet and their stories to hear.
One of the key moments of my literary excitement in my adult years was discovering Woolf. A key moment as of late in my literary excitement has been Thompson. This has brought about my contemplation on my lack of the same level of excitement anymore towards Woolf even when she’s placed right in front of me with heed, and pondering on my own growth as a reader, writer, and human. What about literature turns us on or onner?
Is it me?
There’s a lot to unpack there.
I think as different as we can look at Thompson and Woolf, they also have similarities. They are honest and build an honest view. They immerse us in perfect descriptions of things we’ve all seen - and maybe sometimes a little too much of what we’re all thinking.
I do wonder what Thompson did think of Woolf. I think Woolf would’ve understood Thompson’s plights, but found him rather despicable.
I got stranded in Las Vegas for 3 days in July.
I also bought drugs in South America.
I probably would’ve found Thompson despicable before both of these events occurred, too. Maybe it is me. But words are powerful. All of those statements are, in a sense, true. I guess, sometimes, it’s not just about what’s being said, or even how it’s being said, but also hearing what you need to hear in certain moments. Maybe that’s the essence.