Aug 16, 2006

QUIET DESPERATION
HARDANGERFJORD, Norway: Edward has a story teased on the cover of National Geographic Traveler – and I forgot to bring the issue (he's been in Greenland the last two weeks). Luckily, a companion donates her copy.

He sought the "Quietest Place on Earth" and wrote an epic piece, ostensibly about the Canaries (not so silent, as it later emerged). But the article's more than all that: it's a philosophical treatise, a lifestyle manifesto, even a love letter.

"I sit until I'm simply here," his tale explains. "Long before we walked upright on the savanna, long before church bells defined a territory of belief, long before there were Abba revivals in Las Vegas, we clung to our branches and listened to the wind move through the trees around us, and we were home and we were safe and we were perfectly, perfectly calm."

My eyes are suspiciously liquid as the text arcs into its denouement. Edward stares out the bus window and grumbles: "I can't look at it. And what's with all these salmon farms? The meat doesn't taste good and they pollute."

"Oh, Ed, it's brilliant," I interject.

Then, because he's so baleful and doubting, I add an author's highest compliment: "I wish I'd written this."

And quickly, before his protest registers: "Then I could have shortened all those damn run-on sentences."

21 comments:

  1. Just in case anyone's still gullible enough to entertain the notion, a disclaimer: the love letter was not – and could not ever – be for me.

    Our gig is strictly Jay and Silent Bob.

    Or Statler and Waldorf.

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  2. Fascinating blog, Amanda. Will keep an eye out for your work.

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  3. Definitely Statler and Waldorf. In spite of the quiet article, there is no silence here.

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  4. Thanks dingobear, I'm enjoying "Daily Starfish and Waffles" too!

    All my journalism eventually winds up at www.amandacastleman.com, which will be updated. Soon. No, really.

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  5. Marie, I think I'm being haunted by Muppets.

    And alpacas, if Edward can be trusted:

    http://calminghobbes.blogspot.com/2006/09/reading-hobbes.html

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  6. Hat Boy8:09 PM

    No way, you two are totally the Bert and Ernie of journalism.

    From Wiki...

    ....the mischievous innocent (Ernie) and the world-weary partner (Bert).

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  7. Well, I could write sentences like: See Hobbes run. Run, Hobbes, run.

    And although with your mouth (and even without the hat) it would be easy to figure out who was Jay and who was the Silent Bob part of the act, which one was taller, Statler or Waldorf?

    But I do suspect you'd look way better in a tux than me.

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  8. Hatboy, does that make you Snuffleupagus, my reclusive ginga friend and scapegoat?

    I know one thing for certain: that's not Oscar in your condo's dumpster, though!

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  9. Hat Boy8:36 PM

    No, I've always thought I was a pretty good match for Oscar The Grouch. His trash can is symbolic of my prison cell. He was also originally orange...

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  10. Sorry, I think the Denny's hookers cornered the trash can trade in Ballard...

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  11. Edward, I may get remarried someday simply to force you into a wedding-party tux.

    You can wear the flip flops and black toenail polish, however.

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  12. Well, we do know you're wearing a tux if I ever get remarried. Where does the Best Imaginary Little Sister stand on formal occasions?

    And yeah, the black toenail polish is staying.

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  13. Oscar the Grouch would never go for bling in the grill. That's more of an Elmo move. However, just to be helpful, and because I knew this would never show up in phrase books, I checked with a German friend of mine for a useful translation for Hat Boy.

    And she said:

    "The translation question unfortunately leaves me a tad puzzled. The closest German word to “inlay” I can even think of is Intarsienarbeit, but it’s really just used to describe intricate wood inlays in wooden tables. I have yet to discover a German equivalent. So, to make a long explanation a tad longer, I’d probably translate the sentence very liberally as “’n Diamant im Zahn ist ziemlich geil” which in turn is closer to “a diamond in the tooth is fucking great”...though the word “geil” actually comes closer to meaning “horny”, and the ‘n implies that it is someone saying it, since the complete word should really be ein...."

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  14. Hobbes10:34 AM

    >Where does the Best Imaginary Little Sister stand on formal occasions?

    Anywhere she damn well pleases, just like the proverbial elephant!

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  15. I'm still stuck on the Orange Oscar thing. It's true: the grouch morphed hue in 1970.

    Slimey, however, stays a Sunkist color throughout: a firm rock in a world spinning out of control...

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  16. ERH: Bet the basset would know the German for "inlay"... but I might have to barter away Snow White for such forbidden knowledge.

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  17. That basset gets anywhere near my book ending, there will be no more grapefruit gum for you, ever.

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  18. Big talk, there, Edward. As if you have any grapefruit gum left to negotiate with!

    As I recall, the last Balkan packet is somewhere on the floor of my closet...

    Ah, the power!

    (insert evil world-conquering dalek noise here)

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  19. I'm stuck on this orange Oscar thing. I had no idea. He was my favorite (I channel him sometimes) but I thought he was green my entire life. I feel cheated.

    Wait, was he even green?? We had a black and white TV...

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  20. Oh yes, Oscar turned a limey-forest shade 36 years ago.

    We had a little black-and-white set where I imagined color too ... until I poured rootbeer down it, age 5.

    Soda pop in hot electronics make for quite an explosion, shooting foam and everything.

    "No TV until you learn to read," my parents snapped.

    Next year, I did.

    "You weren't listening," they insisted. "We said French!"

    Je ne parle toujours pas fran├žais...

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  21. Really? 36 years ago? I don't remember Sesame Street even being on the air until I was too old to watch it, but I only would have been 7 then. That said, I do have vague memories of Oscar being green.

    See, if you'd concentrated on things that mattered, instead of wondering what color a puppet was, you probably could have learned to read French, and you'd have a TV now and wouldn't have to call me to explain Hat Boy's comments that seem to reflect way too much interest in Marie's stud finder on her blog.

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