Tuesday, August 21, 2001

I'm going to try post something on my lunch break at work. It is a little distracting and not quite as easy as at home to get into the "headspace" for writing a personal diary.

In Sunday's Los Angeles Times Book Review, Seamus Heaney reviewed A Way of Life, Like Any Other by Darcy O'Brien. I read the review because it was by Seamus Heaney, and he reminded me why I love reading a well-written book review even if I never read the book itself. Heaney describes O'Brien's earlier works on Irish writers: "There was little sense...that Darcy himself was hitting his stride as a writer. These were maculate performances by someone with a gift for the immaculate." I don't recall ever hearing or reading the word "maculate." Of course, there is the immaculate conception and some people live in immaculate homes, but "maculate" never occurred to me. (It certainly would describe my house!) Heaney goes on to write that O'Brien's "at-homeness in places where he was slightly deliciously out of it, all suggested his artist's capacity for immersion and detachment." First, "slightly deliciously" is how poets write book reviews. Second, I wonder if the simultaneous experience of "immersion and detachment" is part of the urge behind online diaries and journals.

Speaking of Seamus Heaney, I recently purchased a double-CD of Heaney reading his new translation of Beowulf, an epic best heard out loud rather than read silently.

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