and, yes, i'm alive! today the dear 85-year-old woman i adore asked if i was mad at her because i'd not called in a month, so- lest there be other people assuming we've had a falling out- i assure you, no! it's just been a mad frenzy of revisions and submission for supervision and now i'm disappeared for the week into my annual t.s. eliot bootcamp, and all of that has meant i've very few words and very little energy to spare. basically, the over-riding sensation of the final year of a phd is the sensation of having just given a pint of blood.
but i'mma rally some words here to write about this...
perhaps ill-advisedly because i have purposefully avoided information on the release of watchman (because, well, MINE BRAIN), and i am no longer even entirely certain whether i ever actually read mockingbird. BUT.
from the general vibe in the air, i'm concluding that atticus finch is racist and that some people are pretty disillusioned and harper lee's literary reputation has sustained a blow.
speaking in my authority as someone who hangs out with elderly people on a regular basis, as someone who is, at this particular time, very precisely attuned to the tensions between history and legacy, the commercial demands of the media and the practicalities of old age (ie. fragile health, the expenses of care) AS WELL AS keenly aware of how completely the commercial/historical/personal needs/wants/demands of a given present moment displace/usurp/erase the past- even if that past is a past that we ourselves have experienced as a present- speaking with whatever authority that lends me, i will say this: i do not not think the release of this book is a moment we (you, me, the american book publishing industry and literary establishment, and elder care advocates) will later look back on with pride.