(urth) a journal entry from 1991

DAVID STOCKHOFF dstockhoff at verizon.net
Tue Jul 30 12:14:26 PDT 2013

So did K get hooked? We want to know.

> From: Editor B <b at rox.com>
>To: urth at urth.net 
>Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 2:19 PM
>Subject: (urth) a journal entry from 1991
>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. 
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