Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Reading Moby Dick, 5: The Universe Conspires...

When you’re reading Moby Dick, apparently the universe conspires to show you the importance of the book: I got an email this morning from the Ann Taylor clothing store announcing new arrivals in “lush colors and watercolor prints inspired by the sea.”

Here’s what Ishmael and Ahab could be wearing.

Ahab has announced his obsession with the white whale, and the crew has been inspired to take on this fool’s mission as their own. There’s leadership for you.

Here’s Ishmael’s observation about this turn of events:

“Here, then, was this grey-headed, ungodly old man, chasing with curses a Job’s whale round the world, at the head of a crew, too, chiefly made up of mongrel renegades, and castaways, and cannibals—morally enfeebled also, by the incompetence of mere unaided virtue or right-mindedness in Starbuck [the first mate], the invulnerable jollity of indifference and recklessness in Stubb [the second mate], and the pervading mediocrity in Flask [the third mate]. Such a crew, so officered, seemed specially picked and packed by some infernal fatality to help him to his monomaniac revenge.”

Or picked by a masterful writer….

If you’re getting bored with Moby Dick, come back tomorrow for a great guest piece inspired by The New Yorker’s "20 Under 40" list of fiction writers (hey, why don’t they ever do a list of poets…could it be because most of the poets they publish are well over 40?).


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.