Sunday, April 22, 2018

"Plainsong" by Kent Haruf

I woke up dreading the fan mail I felt duty-bound to send.

Kent Haruf
I finished reading "Plainsong" by Kent Haruf last night. Being 78 and recalling a long-ago lifetime stuffed with reading, it had been some time -- long, long ago -- since I was raised up or raised into the universe "Plainsong" took me to. I was consumed and consented to that consumption. I was in love, with all the wispy, unspeakable tendrils that love can entail. I was happy to live on the same planet as allowed such a wonderful, beckoning, ineffable, quiet, what-the-fuck book. I dreaded writing the fan mail because you can't transmit the love that rises up like mist over a graveyard. Jeee-sus! The book filled me up.

I looked for Haruf on Google.

And found out he was dead.

And I am not a fan of being a fan of the dead.

I was stopped in my tracks. I wanted to say thank you and -- perhaps as usual -- there was no one to say thank you to. And still I wanted to say thank you. It was as if something inside me wept, but the tears refused to be wet.

The dread I woke up with centered on ... on ... on....

The book made me feel as once I had felt at sixteen or seventeen when I was in love with whomever I was in love with at the time. Speechless. No words would do, but words were all that there was. I was reduced even as I was elevated: "I love Suzy. Oh I love Suzy so much! No, you don't understand -- I really, really love Suzy!" The more the words, the less effective their capacity.

Ah well. Haruf is dead and I suppose I can say I am more alive thanks to his ... his ... whatever it was that perhaps, were he alive, he would not claim.

I can't recommend "Plainsong." Neither praise it. The last line of the book struck me as not quite consonant, but that's minor.

How I wish I could say thank you.

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