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Stephen Evans

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Stephen is a playwright and author of The Marriage of True Minds, The Island of Always, Painting Sunsets, A Transcendental Journey, and Funny Thing Is: A Guide to Understanding Comedy

Lyrical Book Reports: Recent Reading

Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe – An exhausting biography that thinks it’s a lyrical novel. But somehow affecting in the end.

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf – An insightful and lyrical exploration of not very much.

Daisy Miller by Henry James – A considered and non-lyrical exploration of even less.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carré – Finally an actual character. But not lyrical.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert  – Possibly lyrical in French. In English translation, bland and ridiculous.

The Grass Harp by Truman Capote – Gently told and thoroughly lyrical, with characters galore, until the disappointing last chapter.

My Winter World by Stephen Evans. Lyrical in aspect if not prose, but “mixes whimsy, grief, courtroom drama, and charm.” Coming soon to an internet near you.

 

Ebook Cover

Recent Comments
gr8word
We're sure My Winter World will make up for the deficits of all the others mentioned! :-))))
Monday, 13 November 2023 16:19
Stephen Evans
I''m not implying any such But I hope it is at least entertaining.... Read More
Monday, 13 November 2023 19:45
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The Business Before the Committee

The leaves were dropping yesterday off one particular maple outside my porch like a blizzard of yellow-red. They fell for about twenty minutes then stopped as if on a timer. There was no wind to make them fall. It was as if they decided in committee: Hear, hear, the leaves of the left side of Mapleville will come to order. Today's business is:

FFFFFFFFFFFAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGG.

 

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"I don’t like what I write now"

 

I am reading Virginia Woolf's diary (I don't think she'll mind) and found this, which was pretty much how I was feeling yesterday, except about being in Richmond and Nessa's children, whom I would be happy to have to tea.  

"Monday, October 25th 1920 (First day of winter time)

 

Why is life so tragic; so like a little strip of pavement over an abyss. I look down; I feel giddy; I wonder how I am ever to walk to the end. But why do I feel this: Now that I say it I don’t feel it. The fire burns; we are going to hear the Beggar’s Opera. Only it lies about me; I can’t keep my eyes shut. It’s a feeling of impotence; of cutting no ice. Here I sit at Richmond, and like a lantern stood in the middle of a field my light goes up in darkness. Melancholy diminishes as I write. Why then don’t I write it down oftener? Well, one’s vanity forbids. I want to appear a success even to myself. Yet I don’t get to the bottom of it. It’s having no children, living away from friends, failing to write well, spending too much on food, growing old. I think too much of whys and wherefores; too much of myself. I don’t like time to flap round me. Well then, work. Yes, but I so soon tire of work—can’t read more than a little, an hour’s writing is enough for me. Out here no one comes in to waste time pleasantly. If they do, I’m cross. The labour of going to London is too great. Nessa’s children grow up, and I can’t have them in to tea, or go to the Zoo. Pocket money doesn’t allow of much. Yet I’m persuaded that these are trivial things; it’s life itself, I think sometimes, for us in our generation so tragic—no newspaper placard without its shriek of agony from someone. McSwiney this afternoon and violence in Ireland; or it’ll be the strike. Unhappiness is everywhere; just beyond the door; or stupidity, which is worse. Still I don’t pluck the nettle out of me. To write Jacob’s Room again will revive my fibres, I feel. Evelyn is due; but I don’t like what I write now. And with it all how happy I am—if it weren’t for my feeling that it’s a strip of pavement over an abyss."

 

Photo: See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
[i]"Melancholy diminishes as I write. Why then don’t I write it down oftener?" Writing for some is lifeblood. Creativity in one f... Read More
Saturday, 28 October 2023 22:42
Stephen Evans
In her next couple of journal entries, she identifies her melancholy as part of her 'illness". It seems that she, like many of us,... Read More
Sunday, 29 October 2023 15:54
Rosy Cole
'Melancholy' is a mood word frequently employed in former times. I'm not sure it corresponds to clinical depression and altered st... Read More
Wednesday, 01 November 2023 19:05
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The Course of College

I recently saw an article online about the diminishing number of American college students choosing arts-related degrees. Liberal arts degrees have declined about 10% over a decade, while English/Literature majors have declined more than 30%. Most students these days pursue what I would call career preparation, like business or computer science.

Somehow we now have gotten the idea that a college education is or should be job training. I know I didn't look at it that way when I entered university (many years ago!). I took courses in a variety of disciplines, without regard to (and in some cases antithetical to) career prospects. My job training was going to be law school, though I took a slight detour into writing about lawyers instead.

I know everyone has a different financial situation, and has needs and expectations that affect these choices. But for most, I would hope college would be a time to learn about you, and the world, and the human condition. Follow a discipline if that is what interests you, but keep your vision wide and see what's out there.

I had a few low-paying positions in the beginning. But in the long run, my degree in English/Philosophy turned out to be excellent career prep. Being able to think and write has kept me well employed over the last 40 years or so. And I have always been grateful for the expansive view that my liberal arts degree afforded me, and the rich life that a curious mind and wide-ranging education have allowed me year after year.

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
It all comes together in the end...only heaven preserve us from more Media Studies graduates! :-)
Wednesday, 27 September 2023 19:28
Stephen Evans
LOL yes!
Wednesday, 27 September 2023 20:13
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