The Lesson of Paul Bowles

Quarter after nine.

The storm drain in the curb on Fremont Avenue simply doesn’t work like it should, so it creates a big hazard whenever it rains. I walked clear around the block on N Park to evade that huge pond. It was very dark gray out and the rain fell incessantly. On the street I found bits of tree debris from the windstorm last night. When I got to the store, Michelle was not there. I asked Cathy what had happened. She told me that Michelle’s daughter’s boyfriend was killed in a car crash last Friday, so she couldn’t be there today. As if she didn’t have enough tragedy on her plate already. But I know it’s absurd to believe that some people are magnets for misfortune. We all get our share of bad luck. Still it seems to be rather unequally distributed. Maybe it’s a matter of perspective? I really think it’s more about prudence and using good judgment. It’s also about self regard. Altogether it is a thing of rationality, as the Greeks taught us at the dawn of civilization. As for phenomena like luck, I doubt if there is such a thing. The essence of the irrational seems to be self abandon, which ends up destroying you. When I think of how I used to drink my life away, I’m at a loss to explain what happened. But underneath it all I believe I didn’t like myself very much.

Ten twenty five. To understand what reason is, you need to know about the irrational. And the meltdown of logic is what I observed by reading Paul Bowles. Reason and self love are inextricably related to each other. Bad things happen when self respect breaks down and you reflect the chaos of the outside world. Meanwhile, the rain never stops… 

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5 thoughts on “The Lesson of Paul Bowles

  1. At times it seems that self respect is the stone that Sisyphus rolls and must be ( etc. ). That is unless the effort is made to level the mountain. That’s sobriety and contrition, I think. Anyway, enjoying your well composed thoughtful posts and signing off now to put in a library hold request for ‘The Sheltering Sky”. Thanks.

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    1. The Sheltering Sky is his best book and his first novel. I hope you like it okay. There are some things in it intended for shock value, I suppose, but his writing style is very masterful. You’ll be in good hands with Bowles.

      Take care until next time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I found it to be wonderful that Corperal Dupeyrier percieved Port to be somewhat adolecent as it jarred me out of my own impression of him. Also, the literary devise of the second rate man, Tunner, is always disturbing, but valuable, because his flaws are so much my own. One encounters the type in other twentieth century novels. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of the author. (The autodidact’s shortfall – abysmal gaps.) I read The Sheltering Sky in one go with a few naps in between.

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    1. When I think of self taught people I think of greatness: people like Bernard Shaw, Ray Bradbury, and in music, John McLaughlin, and now they say that Jaco Pastorius was untutored on the electric bass. It takes a lot of drive and ambition, but I think also these people had pure natural ability. John McLaughlin is still alive and making albums: we share the same birthday.

      Great job on the reading! I first heard of it from a couple of songs in pop music: one by The Police and the other by King Crimson. There are many ways to network and find new things to read. You might like the song “Tea in the Sahara” on Synchronicity. The guitar work by Andy Summers is pretty outstanding.

      Thanks Philip. Have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok thanks Rob. I’ll check those out.
        You may enjoy (or not, taste being so personal a thing) my friend’s sardonic and satirical songwriting. He is Larry Gallagher, his first album is ‘Can I Go Now?’ I think that he is/was crushed by not achieving wide critical acclaim but he has small but dedicated band of admirers here in S.F of whom I am one. I recommend the song ‘ What Kind of Fool Are You?’ All his stuff is on YouTube.
        Thanks for the vote of confidence, but next to Larry it becomes clear that I am peabrained.

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