September 21, 2008

"Sasha undid the object and put it solemnly on the table."

"It was a not very tall candelabra of old bronze and artistic workmanship. It consisted of a group: on the pedestal stood two female figures in the costume of Eve and in attitudes for the description of which I have neither the courage nor the fitting temperament. The figures were smiling coquettishly and altogether looked as though, had it not been for the necessity of supporting the candlestick, they would have skipped off the pedestal and have indulged in an orgy such as is improper for the reader even to imagine."

I took a little walk today and listened to the short story "A Work of Art" -- which you can read here -- on Miette's bedtime story podcast. I was thoroughly amused by the old Chekhov story and replayed the last minute of it as I was passing by the empty gardens of University Heights.

I discovered Miette's podcast after rhhardin very aptly recommended Theodore Roethke's essay "Last Class" in a comment to the post on that NYT Magazine piece about whether it's good for a serious writer to be a creative writing professor. Rh linked to the first page of the essay (story?), and I thought it was phenomenal:
I'm tired of the I-love-me bitches always trying to keep somebody off balance; Park Avenue cuties who, denied dogs, keep wolfcubs named Errol Flynn, or bats and toads with names like Hoagy; all the cutesy, tricksy trivia and paraphernalia with which the stupid and sterile rich try to convince themselves they aren't really dead.
That's a teacher telling his students what he thinks of them!

Looking for the rest of the pages, I hit upon Miette's podcast of it. Sampling it and finding Miette's voice quite charming, I decided to take it out for a walk... over to Barrique's Wine Cave, where I didn't drink wine but had a latte and did the NY crossword in the back of the NYT Magazine.

7 comments:

vbspurs said...

I decided to take it out for a walk... over to Barrique's Wine Cave, where I didn't drink wine but had a latte and did the NY crossword in the back of the NYT Magazine.

Aww. It feels like we were there with you, when you say stuff like this.

What were you wearing?

ricpic said...

...the stupid and sterile rich...

I didn't know the rich had the market cornered on those traits. I'll bet Chekov didn't know it either. Only the coarse buy into blanket categorizations.

Ann Althouse said...

That's not the Chekhov, that's the Roethke. Chekhov wasn't such a mean bastard.

Chip Ahoy said...

No, I did not hear what Miette heard, if I was supposed to hear Russian dancers with cinderblock slippers. And I did listen closely in perfect silence, if you discount these damned crickets that don't stop chattering, using my very own button ears, or ear buds at least, plugged into this thing.

What I did hear, though, is someone who really should retire from teaching. Or how's this for an assignment; enough about you, then. What do you think about me?

ricpic said...

I kept banging my head against it till it finally came to me: Chip Ahoy is Robert Walser, the Swiss miniaturist writer, reborn.

Stinger Assassin said...

A.A.--

If you had worked some Obama or Palin into this post about Tolstoy a lot more people would have commented.

Just saying....

Ann Althouse said...

Tolstoy... LOL.