Sunday, February 20, 2011

Aimless Reading: The M's, Part 29.4 (Cormac McCarthy)

The Crossing
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
McCarthy, Cormac
The Crossing

Purchase at Talking Leaves...Books. I think.

Goddamn these glossy covers. They are such a pain to photograph. The terrible iSight camera and the lack of light in this room are bad enough. Add in a surface that reflects the computer screen it faces and you have a photographer's nightmare on your hands. Not to mention the white background and the dainty brown serif font. Alas, we do what we can.

After I transferred out of Wheeling, first to Mason in Virginia and finally to Fordham in the Bronx, M. and I gradually began to lose touch. We made a point of getting together now and again during summers, but really only got to see each other once or twice a year. The irony is that just as discovered my love of reading and books, my friendship with M., whose voracious reading habits I'd always admired, began to fade.

There was a brief period, however, during which we were able to share our love of books. I remember he loaned me Even Cowgirls Get the Blues one summer, which sent me on a little Tom Robbins reading jag. But we saw each other so little that we really had very little time to discuss them after the fact.

Not long after I arrived in New York, I quit drinking and taking drugs. As this had been at least a partial basis for our friendship, sobriety too took a toll. Part of it was my fault. Or maybe a fault in my character. In my first couple years sober I became quite judgmental and preachy about the drinking habits of others. Most of my friends were either full blown alcoholics and addicts or well on their way to become so, and I made no bones about letting M. and others know I thought they needed help with their drinking. My assessments were not appreciated.

M. graduated college a couple of years ahead of me. My progress had been slowed by taking time off and changing schools several. I wasn't in much of a hurry to graduate, to be honest. I kind of liked reading books and staying up all night smoking cigarettes and philosophizing with my friends. However, just as M. was entering the world, events conspired to force sudden changes on his life that would inevitably lead to the slow dissolution of our friendship.

from The Crossing

He finished his supper and went to bed. Boyd was already asleep. He lay awake a long time thinking about the wolf. He tried to see the world the wolf saw. He tried to think about it running in the mountains at night. He wondered if the wolf were so unknowable as the old man said. He wondered at the world it smelled or what it tasted. He wondered had the living blood with which it slaked its throat a different taste to the thick iron tincture of his own. Or to the blood of God. In the morning he was out before daylight saddling the horse in the cold dark of the barn. He rode out the gate before his father was even up and he never saw him again.

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