Monday, February 21, 2011

Aimless Reading: The M's, Part 29.5 (Cormac McCarthy)

Outer Dark
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
McCarthy, Cormac
Outer Dark

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books. Of McCarthy's books, I've only read Blood Meridian and All the Pretty Horses and part of Suttree. I bought this one for Lori to read.

M. graduated from Wheeling in 1990, when I was still only about halfway through college at Fordham. He graduated with a business degree and moved home to the DC area to look for work. I remember he had a dream of one day owning a bookstore that doubled as a coffee shop. These were still the days before superstores, so it still seemed like a novel idea (no pun intended). Soon after he got home he found out his girlfriend was pregnant. As they were very in love, they decided to keep the child.

I am not quite sure of the chronology of events after that, but I know that at some point M. moved back to Wheeling and took a bartending job while his girlfriend (or wife at this point, not sure, as I did not attend a wedding) finished school. Once graduated, they moved back to the DC area and he took a job working at a bank.

I remember visiting them once at an apartment they were renting somewhere in the DC suburbs. I am not sure which one -- something tells me it was in Rockville or somewhere thereabouts, but that is just a guess. It was after I'd graduated college, which means several years must have passed since I'd seen him. By that time I believe they already had a second on the way.

My recollections of the visit are a bit fuzzy. I was working hard trying to become a writer and was reading anything I could get my hands on and was eager to talk to M. about reading and writing (and also a little eager to show off how much I'd read since we'd last seen each other). I could tell he was a little put off by this. Partly because of my competitiveness, I am sure, but also partly because it was apparent he did not have the time he'd once had to pursue these interests.

He had been working on a business plan to realize his bookstore/cafe dream, but by this time the superstores had started their rapid takeover of the planet and it was looking less and less like a viable concept for a small business.

At the time I had very long hair and wore a brown suede coat. I remember he joked that I looked like Eddy Vedder. He meant it as a simple chide, but it seemed to me to carry more significance than that. As if he meant to say: I have more important things to do (raising children) than getting dressed up like a rock star. It was at that moment I knew we were heading in separate directions.

from Outer Dark

They crossed out on the bluff in the late afternoon sun with their shadows long on the sawgrass and burnt sedge, moving single file and slowly above the river and with something of its own implacability, pausing and grouping for a moment and going on again strung out in silhouette against the sun and then dropping under the crest of the hill into a fold of blue shadow with light touching them about the head in spurious sanctity until they had gone on for such a time as saw the sun down altogether which suited them very well.

1 comment:

pesce said...

children will definitely change your clothing style - the thought of buying clothing article outside of a thrift store is now unthinkable to me

i can't stand coffee shops anymore, but maybe it's the kind where i live

and the only "good" bookstores,hmm..too what pretentious maybe? rude, usually

xept iron rail in new orleans - i've thought about doing something similar where i live now

i worked for a bank for awhile - too much of a misfit to get past my boss being infuriated with my attitude

frienships breaking up - very painful - i have a friend here after i came back -known each other 30 years -he still is a poet and radical but just seems like such an asshole now i can't stand his company

what happened?