Thursday, February 06, 2014


"The mountains paralleled the valley and the snowy peaks were extending with fall to the valley floor."-- Thomas McGuane, Nobody's Angel

Which is at least visually appropriate for this view looking South on Main street to the Magdalena range, which rises from 6500 feet at the village to almost 11, 000 (10, 782 I THINK) within a few miles of my house, behind my back as I take this...

But it isn't the quote I am looking for! I have for years paraphrased a McGuane quote about the mountains looming almost threateningly closer to town in winter. But I have searched first "Heart of the Game", then the rest of An Outside Chance, Keep the Change, Nobody's Angel, Something to be Desired-- I am SURE I have been quoting it long enough that it isn't in a more recent book--! Quite possibly I have missed it in one of the above. If any of my scholarly friends can find it, there or elsewhere and if I am prematurely senile somewhere in another writer's work, I would be obliged. I thought of it when I took this pic this morning and have been looking, distracted by so many familiar and forgotten passages, that I need to get my blogging done and get back to life. Thankfully, no deadlines looming!
Update: I read the mad soliloquy in his 1971 Bushwhacked Piano for the first time in years, and laughed aloud. Anybody else remember & love it? If I get enough votes I will print it all here. When my friends and I were in our twenties in New England we could recite it, and competed. I can see Chris striding across Harvard Square, seeing me in front of the Coop, and bellowing "What I believe in? I believe in happiness, birth control, generosity, fast cars, environmental sanity, Coors beer, Merle Haggard, upland game birds, expensive optics, helmets for prizefighters, canoes, skiffs, and sloops, horses that will not allow themselves to be ridden, speeches made under duress; I believe in metal fatigue and the immortality of the bristlecone pine...'' And as he joins me, we chant the whole damn thing together, flinging out our hands, gesturing, getting really strange looks. This is about 1972 or 3, a time when certain kinds of bad behavior are becoming ordinary. But this has a different ring. "... I  believe in words on paper, pictures on rock, intergalactic hellos. I believe in fraud. I believe that in pretending to be something you aren't you have your only crack at release from the bondage of time..."

A mere taste. And if this meme takes off there is always "the Shining City" from 92 in the Shade: "I will behave badly".

1 comment:

Matthew MAKAREWICZ said...

You, McGuane, and Harrison, that's all I really need. Please reprint.