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Moby-Dick. Hark!

September 21, 2012

A few thoughts after spending some time with The Moby-Dick Big Read, in which an assortment of famous and semi-famous folk read us Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, via podcast or SoundCloud:

(1) The book’s first chapter is one of the English language’s finest pieces. I’m forever tossing “wordy” at writers as an insult, but I pay it as a compliment to mighty Melville. (James, too, but we’ll save that for another post.)

(2) It now irks me more than ever that every time I’ve passed through one-time whaling capital New Bedford, MA, I’ve been ferrying my cats to or from my vacation and thus unable to stop and explore.

(3) This exercise has proved what I long feared (based mostly on knowing my eyes glaze over when the waiter recites the specials, important as I find that information): I have trouble concentrating on the spoken word. How does this failure to listen affect my thought? My writing? My relationship with the world and all its speakers? 

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