Commentaries - November 2008
A man named David Thorne attempts to be his overdue utility bill with his drawing of a spider, which he values at a dollar figure exactly equal to the money he owes. Jane Gilles of the utility company engages him in an email dialogue about this. Read the entire exchange.
“The means to gain happiness,” wrote Tolstoy, “is to throw out from oneself like a spider in all directions an adhesive web of love, and to catch in it all that comes.” As you get about halfway through the dialogue, you realize that the delinquent bill-payer is half-hoping this will work, but just half. He does seem somewhat to believe that he is throwing his spider in all directions, hoping that it — his modest little art — lands safely somewhere. (Maybe I’m a sap, but I think he wants her to like it.)
Thanks to Malka Fleischman for pointing this out.
Here’s a poem a particularly admire: from the early 1960s by LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka), “Kenyata Listening to Mozart.” And here’s a link to a better view of the text. And here’s a link to a recording of Jones reading the poem in California in December 1964.