Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Special Sauce

My chest still feels like someone is standing on it. And it burns when I breathe. My stomach is a wreck from the antibiotics and those cough-syrup-without-the-syrup pills. But I slept a little better last night, with the help of my inner bartender. I squeezed the juice of a lemon into a teacup, threw in several spoonfuls of sugar, tossed two lemon slices on top, poured some Canadian whiskey over the mixture, then filled the rest of the cup with hot water. I never drink that sort of thing. Tasting it, though, I realized that I'd fabricated a hot version of the whiskey sours my dad's relatives were always making when I was little. The nostalgia was tinged with regret, but my lungs relaxed considerably.

Feeling pretty tipsy -- I'd only eaten soup and a little bread all day -- I decided to read to fall asleep. Only Faulkner sounded right. So I picked up Flags in the Dust and found that, despite my spinning head, I could read it with interest and pleasure. I'm reading more today, not making a lot of progress, but savoring the words. Maybe I'll finish it. Maybe not. I have lots of other things to read and even more things to do. Sometimes, though, when you find the right book in a time of illness you have to go with it and hope that the experience of reading it leads you to the pastures of health. I've long been interested in Flags in the Dust, both because I like drafts, fragments, and alternate versions on principle -- it's no accident that I'm into Walter Benjamin -- and because I'm a big fan of The Unvanquished. Mind you, I recognize the problem with Faulkner's more romantic, unreconstructed visions of the South. I know that Absalom, Absalom! is better for having the critique of romance built into its narrative structure. When I'm in this frame of mind, though, I need a little more sugar with my sour.
Tags: health, literature

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