Today is a late day,
I start late, I finish late.
Mom minds the store in the mornings,
Thursdays and Fridays.
I get my morning to myself.
At this time of year it’s quiet,
the windows are closed,
the snow or rather,
close city facsimile,
and a snoring cat,
is turning into a snorer,
On the weekend I was re-reading parts of,
Books v. Cigarettes,
a series of essays.
On the importance one attaches to books,
on working in a used bookshop,
on writing book reviews.
It is a slim and small volume,
published by Penguin,
in it’s Great Ideas collection.
I love Orwell.
I read Animal Farm and 1984 in college.
Strong political and social commentary.
I also read,
Down And Out In Paris And London,
an unforgettable journey,
through the lives of the working poor,
the new immigrant and the homeless.
Stark, hard, and true,
still pertinent today.
Orwell, to me, is a sort of a naive cynic.
An observer of human nature and,
how cruel man can be.
He sees things as they are,
they haven’t changed much,
the rich getting richer,
the poor getting poorer.
But, he also,
volunteered to help the Republican side,
in the Spanish civil war,
his injuries left him with precarious health,
for the rest of his days.
Talk about putting up or shutting up.
The man believed,
you could and must change the world.
Orwell deserves to be read.
His fiction, prophetic.
His journalism, hauntingly beautiful.
Journalism as Art,
how often can you say that?
Check out this site http://orwelldiaries.wordpress.com/,
they publish Orwell’s diaries as a blog,
I have just discovered it and will be exploring.
Orwell was also a cranky guy,
I like cranky people with attitude,
they move the world forward.
They also believe in truth not rectitude.
Here is an excerpt from Bookshop Memories,
one of the essays in the previously mentioned collection,
a good example of truth and crankiness:
When I worked in a second-hand bookshop–
so easily pictured, if you don’t work in one,
as a kind of paradise where charming old gentlemen
browse eternally among calf-bound folios-the thing that
that chiefly struck me was the rarity of really bookish people.