From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog: More literary considerations

Saturday, April 09, 2005

More literary considerations

Driftglass is a recent new addition to the blogroll, and the post he has up here is a big reason why he's been tacked on. I hope he'll forgive me if I copy an extensive part of the opening (also if it turns out he is a she):

Ok, honestly, I don’t remember my first time.

I remember the season, sort of, and if I wanted to I could probably bring all kinds of flashy CSI reasoning to bear and to deduce the approximate time and place, but frankly I don’t remember and I don’t really care, because First Times suck.

They’re necessary, but lets not romanticize it – they are, at best, Run Dick Run. See Dick Run.

You don’t know what the fuck you are doing. The person you’re with doesn’t know what the fuck they’re doing. You haven’t developed an educated palate yet and have absolutely zero capacity to appreciate the different between, say, stale Ho Ho’s and the almost feloniously perfect alloy of ginger, wasabi, sesame seed and dark chocolate that is a Black Pearl Truffle from Vosges.

You are, in a word, an idiot. Or at least I I don’t remember my first time. I remember my First Good Time.

I was in fourth grade – obviously precocious – and it all went down in the school Library, and loosely involved the following: a sudden thunderstorm, Vincent Price and a beat-up Electro Tone, Deluxe Model 444 suitcase record player.

And oh my yes it was Gooood, and I remember every detail.

I remember the damp smell of the old books in the little back room. I remember the sharp tang of Ohio Bluetip match sulfur and Camel unfiltereds that always swam up from the basement when the janitor was smoking. And I distinctly remember the thrill that we were probably doing something very wrong, and might get caught at any minute.

See there’s something I probably don’t have to explain to anyone here. It’s a dirty little secret that we don’t talk about it public, but we all know its true.

Reading Is Sex.
It goes on for a while after that, but you get the gist of what he's trying to say and I have to agree. Reading for pleasure is almost as good as sex when you've got a really good book in front of you. You get started and you simply do not want to stop until you're good and satisfied and know ;-).

Anyway, Driftglass carries this on for a while before wrapping up with the following observation:

And which is why I don’t remember my first time. But my first Good time was in the library, on a rainy day, with an Electro Tone suitcase record player, listening on scratchy vinyl to the slowly rising horror in Vincent Price’s voice as he read “Berenice”. And then in the most calm, refined tone you can image, Basil Rathbone explaining that he had borne “The thousand injuries of Fortunato” as best he could, “but when he ventured insult”, he simply had to waste his sorry ass in “The Cask of Amontillado."

I could feel it, down deep, in a way I wouldn’t be able to articulate until years later, that this was different. This was Important, and suddenly it was screw Dick and screw Jane, and screw the Spot they rode in on.

Because this was my First Good Time.
And this was my introduction to Mr. Edgar Allan Poe.
I remember learning to read from my Grandma China ages and ages ago. I remember how she would parade me around to her friends and family asking me "How old were you when you learned to read, mijo?"

"Three years old Mama China."

"And who taught you how to read?"

"You did Mama China."

At this point some random piece of written material would be produced for me to perform like a trained seal and to show that I was actually reading, and not just memorizing certain words or sounds.

She taught me on kid's primers with various fairy tales and fables and what not. I also got my fair share of Dr. Seuss as all kids should. I still have a copy of Green Eggs and Ham on my bookshelf because, you know, everyone should have a copy of one of the classics of literature in their possession.

The first real read I had, my "first time" if you will in the Driftglass metaphor, was probably A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. By rights, any book that starts with that cliche bad literature line "It was a dark and stormy night." shouldn't be that big a deal to anyone. Nevertheless, I was mesmerized by the story of Meg Murray, her brother Charles Wallace, and if I remember the names correctly Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit. It was a bit darker than most children's books as I recall. The concept of the "tesseract" just boggled my mind. L'Engle didn't even really get into the concept in that great a detail but I still thought it was the neatest thing.

Nothing really grabbed my attention in quite that same way again, until the first "adult" book I read, which was Stephen King's The Stand. To this day Randall Flagg is still the only fictional character that has ever creeped me out or given me nightmares.

So this is the opportunity for those of you out there to tell me about your "first time". Read the whole of what Driftglass says about his, as it's pretty damn enjoyable. And then come back here and share.

And's all about first times in this post ;-).