My failure to post a Friday Notebook entry last week is a sure indication that I’ve been swamped with “real work.” Gaaah! Nevertheless, I have had enough free time to finished Madame Bovary. I had tried many times to read Flaubert’s masterpiece but found myself defeated by the standard Steegmuller translation; this newer translation by Margaret Mauldon somehow let me in somehow. I’m grateful for that!
Anyway, here’s a passage that struck me as natural Perpetual Bird material:
Human language is like a cracked kettle drum on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, when what we long to do is make music that will move the stars to pity.
If we’re not driven by that longing—well, why bother to write?