f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Clarification on a Statement Made a Mt. Hermon

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Clarification on a Statement Made a Mt. Hermon

I'm not the world's least pretentious person and generally let my opinions just hang out there in all their glorious obnoxiousness but I said something, twice, at Mt. Hermon that now causes me pause.

It was a question, asked twice, regarding my favorite books: particularly "classic" literature. When I asked for a clarification for what "classic" literature the gentlemen said anything from 1600-1980, which seemed a bit unhelpful. In my head I was stuck with the "classics" and so I named Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Which is beyond utterly pretentious even for me.

A few points:

1. I've read all of Moby Dick.
2. I read it for pleasure.
3. It was pleasurable.
4. The pleasure, in a lot of ways, was completely unexpected.
5. I'm not sure I understood the whole thing.
6. It remains, to this day, one of the weirdest, wonderful reading experiences I've ever had.

Part of it was the setting. At the time, I was touring the South Island of New Zealand and was in amongst the old whaling centers they have there around Kaikoura. Kaikoura is nothing like the salty east coast of our country but whaling is whaling and when you're combining Melville's almost-clinical realism with the experience of say, going on a hike, wondering what smells, turning a corner, and stumbling onto a decaying beached whale, well, it made the book resonate for me.

And, then, there is the simple fact that the novel still has to be one of the oddest ever written. And unique, oblivious things like that endear themselves to me.

So, yes, I do love Moby Dick. But I think I'm still a normal guy, too.

Thank you.