Sunday Salon morning post: Looking homeward and heavenward

The Sunday When last I left y’all at Sunday Salon last Sunday, I was in the midst of reading Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe for the Southern Reading Challenge and was just starting The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie. Earlier in the day, I had finished Sister Pelagia and the Black Monk, for which I wrote a review here on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, I caught up on Tuesday Things from Tuesday Thingers, Poetry Tuesday and It’s Tuesday, where are you? and posted my review for The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.

On Thursday, I participated in this week’s Booking Through Thursday and since then, I have not posted anything here until this post.


So today, I begin my reading where I’ve been beginning it almost every day for the last few weeks, with The Spiritual Canticle by St. John of the Cross. I’m on Stanza 25 of the poem and St. John’s commentary on it. I’m a little behind on my journaling of it at another of my blogs Journeying with St. Ignatius (and St. John of the Cross), but maybe later in the day amidst my reading of my Sunday Salon pile I will have the opportunity to catch up.

So far in today’s commentary, I was struck by this:

A footprint is a trace by which we can track the one to whom it belongs. God’s sweetness and knowledge, given to the soul seeking him, is a trace by which she goes on knowing and searching for him.

I am glad I am not reading this in one long rush to finish it, because it is a work well worth savoring and on which to meditate before gobbling up.

Later today, I will continue my reading of Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe. Last night, this passage struck me and seems appropriate to share in a reading group such as this:

Thus, pent in his dark soul, Eugene sat brooding on a fire-lit book, a stranger in a noisy inn. The gates of his life were closing him in from their knowledge, a vast aerial world of fantasy was erecting its fuming and insubstantial fabric. He steeped his soul in streaming imagery, rifling the book-shelves for pictures and finding there such treasures as With Stanley in Africa, rich in the mystery of the jungle, alive with combat, black battle, the hurled spear, vast snake-rooted forests, thatched villages, gold and ivory; or Stoddard’s Lectures, on whose slick heavy pages were stamped the most-visited scenes of Europe and Asia; a Book of Wonder, with enchanting drawings of all the marvels of the age– Santos Dumont in his balloon, liquid air poured from a kettle, all the navies of the earth lifted two feet from the water by an ounce of radium (Sir William Crookes), the building of the Eiffel Tower, the Flatiron Building, the stick-steered automobile, the submarine. After the earthquake in San Francisco there was a book describing it, its cheap green covered lurid with crumbling towers, shaken spires, toppling many-storied houses plunging into the splitting flame-jawed earth. And there was another called Palace of Sin, or The Devil in Society, purporting to be the work of a pious millionaire, who had drained his vast fortune, in exposing the painted sores that blemish the spotless-seeming hide of great position, and there were enticing pictures showing the author walking in a silk hat down a street full of magnificent places of sin.

Whoa! First of all, based on just this paragraph, is it any wonder that I’m not speedreading through this tome? Second, on the paragraph itself, doesn’t it make you think of how and when your own journey with reading began? It does for me anyway.

I also may delve into The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr., which I have begun, and City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology, edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a retrospective of 40 years of 52 volumes from the San Francisco publisher. So far, I’m not sure if I’m really into Wangerin Jr.’s work, but I’m still giving it a chance. The poetry anthology compiles the works of Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, William Carlos Williams, just to name a few of the more well-known poets in the anthology — which also has a cornucopia of lesser-known poets. Later, today, I will share a few lines from one or two of the poems, but for now, I need to get ready to go to Mass, which is in about half an hour. So until later this afternoon, when I shall read more from the books above and also from your own posts on what you’ve been reading this past week and what you are reading today…

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