Friday, July 18, 2008
Janwillem van de Wetering died on July 4...I heard about his books from Patrick Hayden, whom I haven't seen in too long. (Go Mets.) My favorite so far is Tumbleweed. I am supposed to be loading my gear into the van right about now but wanted to Google a remembrance that got into what he was about, other than being Dutch, and a student of Zen. I gather his writing could be categorized as existential...I don't know about that but it moves at a pace that feels spiritual to me. He told a funny story in an interview on the radio today, about how his teachers at the monastery told him that studying there was an expensive enterprise and would cost him quite a bit (furnace repairs, etc). Then they charged him six bucks a month. I think the sensibility I like about the books I've read, or the tone, is implacability or calm, a real spacious tone. The frog on the lillypad who won't just jump at any old movement in the pond traffic, mixed with a dry, blase kind of thing that could only be European. And his characters are the only ones in literature who jam on--if I remember this right--the flute and the drums, in order to woolgather and brainstorm a case.