I haven't done much travel driving for the past couple years, so I've been looking forward to this trip. I've done the first, very short leg, and it went well!
Last week at the local public library, I made the somewhat questionable choice of a book on CD about the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month to listen to. Fascinating book, but my brain keeps thinking of "Dulce et decorum est" and I'm not exactly in a cheery mood. Still, "an ecstacy of fumbling" is as good figure of speech as I've ever heard, and the thought of a face "like a devil's sick of sin" brings me to a mental stop every time I think of it. If I could only write like that...
As I was driving on Christmas Eve, late for where I was supposed to be, I listened to the section about the truce on Christmas Eve 1914. Driving along through the bleak darkness, with bare hints of snowiness in the air, and snow visible along the sides of the road as far as I could see, listening to the ways that soldiers made momentary piece against the wishes of their superiors and national leaders, I just felt such despair.
I've never learned much about WWI, really, beyond the basics, certainly not about the causes and beginnings of the war. But this book certainly gives the impression that the war was totally avoidable if the people in charge, especially Kaiser Wilhelm, had just had cooler heads. Cooler heads. I wish we had some cooler heads in leadership positions today.
Beyond driving, though, I had a chance to do some regular reading, and reread Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories and to read Tan's The Bonesetter's Daughter. Haroun was as brilliant as the first time I experienced it (on tape, Rushdie reading, as a matter of fact), and The Bonesetter's Daughter seemed especially fitting, there in a house with three generations of family women.
Well, I'm on the road again tomorrow morning!