Monday, July 19, 2010

Reading Moby Dick, 7: Sloooooowing Down, Distracted by Drink

It was a distracting week, followed by a distracting weekend, so I’m not all that much farther along in Moby Dick than my last report: page 396 now, with only 109 more to go. Captain Ahab—with his ivory leg—has just met the captain of a British whaling ship who has an ivory arm (with a mallet at the end), thanks to the angry white whale. Needless to say, the two men had plenty to talk about. And don’t tell me Melville wasn’t having fun with that encounter!

Poet John Guzlowski was kind enough to send along this link from the L.A. Times book blog that—in that internetish way—boils down the various qualities of post-modern fiction, with an annotated list of post-modern novels/writers, helping to support “my” theory that Moby Dick is post-modern, despite being published in pre-modern times. The comments are also interesting, with debates about whether the contemporary books we now call post-modern is actually derivative of all this innovative work (like Moby Dick) that preceded it and aren’t really breaking new ground. Also, I was gratified that someone else in the comments added Moby Dick to the list of post-modern works.

Here are two Moby Dick accoutrements that are adding to my experience:

I now have this beautiful T-shirt from Out of Print with the Rockwell Kent cover of Moby Dick.

Knowing there had to be a drink called the Moby Dick, I found this one and was willing to go with the anchovy garnish, but the drink part sounded sort of unpleasant: aquavit and sambuca. So Steve found this recipe for the Harpoon, which is a lot like a cosmo, and which I enjoyed on Saturday night (perhaps that’s why I was too tired to read from the book that night?). Bonus: If you go to the site, you’ll see that this one is good enough for Mad Men’s Don Draper, who clearly knows his way around a liquor cabinet!


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