(urth) a journal entry from 1991

Editor B b at rox.com
Tue Jul 30 11:19:38 PDT 2013

Hey all. I thought I'd delurk briefly to share an entry from my private
journals dating way back to 1991. I'm pasting below for those who care to
take a look. It's about reading Wolfe to my then-girlfriend, identified
here simply as K to protect her identity. To date I've read *The Book of
the New Sun* aloud four times now, and I'm kind of curious if others have
tried this. It's quite an experience. Also, it should be noted that this
was written before the net came to the masses, which may account for my
presumption that I was some sort of super elite reader. That, and the
arrogance of youth. — Editor B

*7/10/91 Wednesday*

the work day started late for K, so she woke me up around 8am and we had
breakfast together (after I did my exercises — I think I'll be doing 30 of
each now, though I haven't done push-ups for a while). After she left I
looked over Chapter IX in *Shadow of the Torturer* ("The House Azure") but
I only read it in a whisper because my throat was was a little raw from
smoking *Leonicus sibiricus* last night with K. (Yes, the package came from
Of the Jungle just a couple days ago. We smoked by candlelight, with spacy
music playing, and seemed to enjoy some psychic effects. But the jury's
still out.) As regards Gene Wolfe, I guess I should explain that K finally
said go last week, after three agonizing months (at least) since I told her
I'd like to share *The Book of the New Sun* with her. Every day I look over
the chapter I am to read that night, and I read it aloud to myself, so that
I can get the inflections right and look up any unfamiliar words. All day
long I relish the thought of it, and it comforts me at work to think that
when I get home, I will read her a chapter. I know that it's wrong to pin
so much on this, but I do. At least we're past the anxious part — I asked
her to listen to the first seven chapters before deciding whether she
wanted to go on, and she did, and after the 7th (in which Severian meets
Thecla) she said she was enjoying the story. From this point I can only
imagine that her interest will wax. I know that she doesn't see even a
fraction of what I see in Wolfe's writing, but then she hasn't read it ten
times over. *The Book of the New Sun* is like a mystery that has to be
unraveled, and that takes time and patience. How many of his readers have
penetrated as deeply into the mystery as I, I wonder? His flowery sentences
don't always lend themselves to being read aloud, but my prediction is that
by this time next week, when Thecla is dead and Severian leaves the guild,
K will be hooked. At this point, she's still rather ambivalent about
Severian as a protagonist.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.urth.net/pipermail/urth-urth.net/attachments/20130730/e61f2602/attachment-0003.htm>

More information about the Urth mailing list