Fitzgerald and St. Ex. What a Difference a Week Makes

I am now in a whole new landscape. Passing through a crucible. It will inevitably leave me “lesser than”, I know that much from life, and it can’t be helped. Can’t be gone around, must be gone through. For now, all feels “flat, stale and unprofitable”, which is a byproduct of losing magic and leaving the dreamspace – which only gets more wrenching the older I get – but this part too must be gone through, not skipped over.

Trying to read again. Not easy! I had to put down Fitzgerald’s The Crack-Up – I had brought it with me to LA, and tried to read it, but it’s too much for me right now. My mind kept skipping away from it.

My comment on “operating from scarcity” in this post brought forth a beautiful comment from “Mark” in this post which gave me goosebumps, and made me pull out Wind, Sand and Stars again, a book I last read in high school, when I was in my Richard Bach-airplane-writing-soulmate-search phase.

But now, it is as though I never read it. It is occurring to me as something totally new and fresh.

My attention span is not what it once was, but I’ll stick it out and see how far I get. Still only in the first chapter, but I came across the following extraordinary passage:

And yet we have all known flights when of a sudden, each for himself, it has seemed to us that we have crossed the border of the world of reality; when, only a couple of hours from port, we have felt ourselves more distant from it than we should feel if we were in India; when there has come a premonition of an incursion into a forbidden world whence it was going to be infinitely difficult to return.

Thus, when Mermoz first crossed the South Atlantic in a hydroplane, as day was dying he ran foul of the Black Hole region, off Africa. Straight ahead of him were the tails of tornadoes rising minute by minute gradually higher, rising as a wall is built; and then the night came down upon these preliminaries and swallowed them up; and when, an hour later, he slipped under the clouds, he came out into a fantastic kingdom.

Great black waterspouts had reared themselves seemingly in the immobility of temple pillars. Swollen at their tops, they were supporting the squat and lowering arch of the tempest, but through the rifts in the arch there fell slabs of light and the full moon sent her radiant beams between the pillars down upon the frozen tiles of the sea. Through these uninhabited ruins Mermoz made his way, gliding slantwise from one channel of light to the next, circling round those giant pillars in which there must have rumbled the upsurge of the sea, flying for four hours through these corridors of moonlight toward the exit from the temple. And this spectacle was so overwhelming that only after he had got through the Black Hole did Mermoz awaken to the fact that he had not been afraid.


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6 Responses to Fitzgerald and St. Ex. What a Difference a Week Makes

  1. Glenn says:

    Thanks Sheila. I just purchased the book!

  2. red says:

    Incredible passage, right?

  3. sarahk says:

    I’m glad you’re able to read, somewhat, again. I pray the crucible goes by quickly, sheila.

  4. Ceci says:

    I come late to comment on this post, because first of all I had to look up the meaning of “crucible” in the dictionary, ehem… Now I have, and I see that first paragraph in all its meaning – or maybe I am giving it my own meaning, since I am currently going through my own crucible while operating from complete scarcity (I am plagiarizing you left and right, hehe). A window of hope opened… only to be shut terribly in my face. Oh well, I don’t know if your crucible is the same as mine, but it sucks, especially at this time in my life. “…losing magic and leaving the dreamspace” – you nailed it down perfectly, as you usually do.

    Anyways, I’ll go through it; I prefer to stick to what comes next in your post: your reading! I am so glad you got to enjoy some reading and are quoting from your books again. It makes me happy and hopeful for you. I guess I will also have to add this book to my reading list! :)

  5. Mark says:

    Shelia — I am glad that you are re-reading Wind, Sand and Stars — It is one of my all-time favorite books. I so enjoy your writing and reflections about what you read and what you choose to share about your life.

    I hope also for a more joyful time to come for you, as the recent past seems to have been a bit harsh.

    Thanks, for all you share

  6. red says:

    Thank YOU, Mark – I have really needed to re-read this book right now! What a gift.