Nancy Ames

Joined January 2008

I am a Canadian, originally from Ontario, and am now living in Calgary, Alberta. I have been writing for over 30 years and performed my...

Extracts from my reading - II

4.
Somerset Maugham, “The Moon and Sixpence”, 1919

The faculty for myth is innate in the human race. It seizes with avidity upon any incidents, surprising or mysterious, in the career of those who have at all distinguished themselves from their fellows, and invents a legend to which it then attaches a fanatical belief. It is the protest of romance against the commonplace of life. The incidents of the legend become the hero’s surest passport to immortality. The ironic philosopher reflects with a smile that Sir Walter Raleigh is more safely enshrined in the memory of mankind because he set his cloak for the Virgin Queen to walk on than because he carried the English name to undiscovered countries. Charles Strickland lived obscurely. He made enemies rather than friends. It is not strange, then, that those who wrote of him should have eked out their scanty recollections with a lively fancy, and it is evident that there was enough in the little that was known of him to give opportunity to the romantic scribe; there was much in his life that was strange and terrible, in his character something outrageous, and in his fate not a little that was pathetic. In due course, a legend arose of such circumstantiality that the wise historian would hesitate to attack it.

5.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Tender is the Night”, 1933

Dick got up to Zurich on less Achilles’ heels than would be required to equip a centipede, but with plenty – the illusions of eternal strength and health, and of the essential goodness of people, illusions of a nation, the lies of generations of frontier mothers who had to croon falsely, that there were no wolves outside the cabin door.

6.
Richard Brautigan, in “The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster”, 1968

INSANE ASYLUM (Part 8)

Baudelaire went
to the insane asylum
disguised as a
psychiatrist.

He stayed there
for two months
and when he left,
the insane asylum
loved him so much
that it followed
him all over
California,
and Baudelaire
laughed when the
insane asylum
rubbed itself
up against his
leg like a
strange cat.

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