I gave SNZ this book on her birthday, the first year we dated. Along with some legitimate Gregorian chant CD that was the rave. Really. And a lunch.
We had known each other for all of a little more than a week. That was over a quarter of a century ago. And who says mid-brow and pretension can’t play the long-game. You know I’m referencing me only, as SNZ be the real deal.
First published in 1976 and now reissued by NYRB Classics, On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry is an exploration of color and language, a celebration of the written and the spoken. In the hands of a novelist like William H. Gass, blue becomes everything there is to know about the world. “Blue pencils, blue noses, blue movies, laws, blue legs and stockings, the language of birds, bees, and flowers as sung by longshoremen.” For starters, yes.
On Being Blue — for its musicality and penchant for description — begs to be read aloud, the way monks might take to their text by a fire. Words are candy, sweet treats to be shared and heard by all living beings. Big words, not so big words, the sound they make, their rhythm, the way they flow from willing lips and give life, like Genesis. There are also balls and cheeks. Nipples, too. With Gass, it isn’t long before the dirty words get the treatment: cocks and socksuckers, ficking and facking. It’s all there, for our amusement; pondered with casual and beaming wit, clarity of thought.
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