Ah, to sing
A story like Ulysses’:
Cast upon the shore
Rescued again by graceful Athena of the grey eyes
For some read-along music, here’s a fun one I keep playing with: Click to hear Bumba accompanied by Preston Maybank, recorded a few days ago.
On with our story ……………………While Odysseus brave and resourceful was roving the great sea wine-colored, our very own roving reporter George Packard was doing some roving of his own. On the bus.
Oh… Ohhh. What? Are we going to have to read yet another of those George Packard sat on the bus things again? Again?
Undeterred by remarks from the peanut gallery……
George Packard sat on the bus.
Yes. A novel.
He would write a novel.
Yes. But this time George would do it differently. His other two novels he had written without using an outline. A big mistake it was, too. The writing had been an endless task of continuous editing: going back again and again, smoothing all the wrinkles in the story, adding some wrinkles to the characters. It was a long and laborious process, thought George.
This time he would decide beforehand on the setting, the characters, the hero. He would plot out the entire story. It would be a story of heroism, of course. A story of heroism, of bravery, of long journeys and dark nights…
How to introduce the story?
Something like Conrad’s Marlowe would be nice………….
Marlowe sat cross-legged on a neat stack of blankets on the deck of the good ship SS Nautilus. Grey smoke bellowed from his corn-cob pipe and lifted slowly into the fog-heavy air above his old, seaman’s cap. It was late afternoon. We were still anchored to the old quai in Marseilles, waiting to set sail. But the fog had rolled in too heavy. The skies on the horizon and off to starboard were thick with black clouds, which rolled slowly toward us even as we sat there.
Mulligan and myself, as well as a covey of other young salts huddled around the old man. A bottle was passed around.
“So boys. You want to hear a story, you say?. OK I’ve got one.”
Marlowe leaned forward from his little perch and peered out into our faces and said “But this one might be a little tougher to take than the usual sort,” he reflected in a thoughtful tone. “There are some things in life that most people, people in general, don’t want to hear. So I’m warning you that this story is only for those who have perhaps been out on the great sea for a while.” Here he motioned with a nod of his head to our first-mate Scratch and Ens. Webster who leaned on the railing a bit aft from us.
“What I’m sayin is that it could be that some of you younger chaps might get a wee upset over some of the details of the story. It could upset your minds.”
“It’s OK, Pilot Marlow,” enjoined Mulligan, “We young fish can take it. Right Foxy?”. Here Mulligan jabbed at me, poking at my ribs and back with easy punches.
Marlowe looked out again into the stormy sky. He remained staring like that for a full minute, slowly pulling on his pipe. In the semi-darkness we could now only see him in profile.The old seaman seemingly had left us for another realm. Finally Marlowe spoke:
“OK, lads. Let’s begin.”
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