It’s only been a week since Christmas but that week has been such a veritable blur of commotion that I sat down here to write something and had to remember how to use my keyboard. These! Here! Buttons! Make! Words! When! Pressed!
As I seek to recall how to arrange sentences into some semblance of order, I decided to hand the controls over to some classic authors instead, to allow them to tell the tale of my past week as I put my time to good use dumping out suitcases and hauling one very crispy tree to the curb and shopping for sustenance and possibly checking myself into a santitorium for the next few months.
A sanitorium by the sea. Ahh. Those loonies have it so good.
Speaking of loonies, I give you William Faulkner, to tell “My Past Week”, in his own inimitable way:
It was the day after Christmas. We were packing. Packing, and packing. Come on. They said to me. Come on and pack your suitcase. There’s going to be a party. We got into the car, and it was dark. We drove through the darkness and we slept and then we stopped and it was Texas and there were people all around talking and laughing and eating and playing. Have a cupcake. They said. Have a cookie. And there were candles and candles and more candles until they were blown out and then there weren’t any candles anymore, the scent of warm wax hanging in the air, coiling around our heads like the thousands of memories winding through every conversation.
Okay, wait. William? I’m not sure you’re telling it in the most, ah…concise manner. It’s a little…random. Not trying to be critical, you understand, because I know you’re all Nobel Prize and everything with your devilishly handsome mustache, but let’s let someone else have a go, shall we?
Ernest? Can you come here for a sec? Ernest Hemingway, folks. “My Past Week”. Let her rip, Ernie.
In the early winter that year we lived for five days in a house not our own in a village named for a mound of flowers that looked out over a few trees inhabited by rowdy squirrels. The squirrels were red and brown and chattering. They ran by the house and up the trunks of the trees and onto the roof and dropped leaves and nuts into the gutters while the wind blew unseasonably warm and the sun shone brightly upon the inhabitants of the household, who were many, and varied.
Hey! What? Ernie, I thought you were the master of brief, simple prose! You haven’t even gotten to the point yet! Sheesh! Move over, willya? Give somebody else a turn.
Mr. Twain? Mr. Twain, you’ll tell it right, won’t you? I did mention that I have a heap of laundry to get to, didn’t I? I really need somebody reliable to get this tale told. Ladies and gentlement, Mr. Mark Twain. Just my past week, Mr. Twain, yes. Thank you so much for giving it a shot.
You don’t know about One Thing without you have read her blog for a while, wherein she tells the truth about her life, mainly. The way her life has wound up so far is this: she had her Christmas with her family in the usual way with stockings and noisy carryin’ ons to beat all, and afterwards when she might have been layin’ about readin’ a new book and eatin’ her salted caramels she had instead to gather up her largish family and tote them and all their sundries down yonder to Texas on account of there was a party goin’ on there with a lot of kin and they were keen to sit a spell and swap stories with ’em.
Oh Mark (do you mind if I call you Mark?) I do love how you tell a story. I was so entranced by your talk that I clean forgot to unpack like I meant to. I’m going to have to call somebody else over just so I can get something done without being tempted to listen in!
Jane? Are you there, Ms. Austen? Oh, good. You are such a dear to come in my hour of need. Just sit down here for a moment and try to get my story told, will you? Yes, I know the keyboard is delightfully vulgar. Hold your hands just so…there you go, you’re getting the hang of it now.
“My Past Week”. By Jane Austen, none other.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a married man in possession of eight decades of life must be in want of a party. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first approaching this most venerable of birth-days, this truth is so well-fixed in the minds of his spouse and children that the particulars of establishing a date for a grand celebration are certain to take place many months in advance, for a party is a party, but a surprise party is a thing of singular delight. The thing being decided, it lacked only its accomplishment, which was begun in the arrangments of various travelling schemes and finished up with the travellers arriving safely at the intended destination with all due secrecy and concealment of purpose.
Darling Jane, you must know you are my favorite. But I’m afraid once again I have been sitting enraptured by the sheer beauty of your language and have gotten only one load of laundry into the wash. This story is going to have to be told by myself after all. I do hope you’ll join me in a cup of tea later, when I have a moment to sit and rest.
Folks, I’m completely out of time. Life beckons, and is outright insistent in its claims upon my time. Suffice to say, I was out of town, but now I am back, and happy to be casting my bread upon the waters again, as they say, although I have no idea what that means. My Beloved’s father had a surprise 80th birthday party (I’m not sure surprising an 80 year old man who had quadruple bypass surgery not too long ago is a wise thing, but he came through unscathed) and we spent the past week enjoying the company of family members we had not seen in far, far too long. There was baby-snuggling, and game-playing, and lots of laughing and talking. I’m confident that I have been outlandishly and unreasonably blessed in the in-law department.
It’s always good to be home, though, even if home means “surrounded by decorations to stash, menus to plan, suitcases to unload, and groceries to fetch.”
Good thing I have lots of help.
William, Ernest, Mark, and Jane? It’s time you earned your keep around here. Let’s get busy, shall we?