English, August, On The Road, and a Life Wide Open

23 June 98 ~7:00 pm

I was groping around for a book tonight — something appropriate to go with dinner, and nothing quite right… until my hand fell on the spine of a poignantly familiar book, English, August: An Indian Story by Upananyu Chatterjee.

My first instinct when slipped that thin tome out of its berth was to say, “Uh-oh, what does this mean? What does it mean that my hand is comforted by this, of all books? Why am I drawn to read this one a third time, twice this very year, when there are so many other books I could choose?”

As I sat down to eat, a thought came to me: when, I found myself asking, have I previously been drawn to this book? The answer that came to me is both a comfort and a revelation. I am pulled to this book when my life is in flux — when I feel like I’m at a crossroads and need a push to go on. More specifically, this book represents for me not just a time of transformation, but a time when my life was wide open, and I could do anything. The first time I began reading this, I was in India — I no longer recall in which city — and I remember being blown away at the life of Agastya Sen. How he struggled to right himself in a life that had been enough for his father but seemed both tedious to him and quaint and novel to me.

How am I to survive is perpetually a question worth asking. Better still, how am I to live? Who am I really?

Where go? What do? What next? [to paraphrase Kerouac in On The Road].

Quite suddenly, my perspective has broadened, and the scope of what I can do has become limitless.

Joel Hurley was right in his reading when he said nothing would be quite the same again. I still don’t know quite what to make of my desire for a change, but I feel it quite strongly. By going to Colorado, I altered something in myself utterly, the pieces have come loose, and I don’t yet know how to put them together again.

This morning when I woke up, I looked around my trashed and dirty apartment and prepared myself to make a difference. Using lavender and eucalyptus essential oils, I wiped down my new cabinet and began filling it with folded clothes. Then unused supplements were given their turn.

Now, after dinner, I’m going to move the rest of my supplements into the cabinet and begin to try to reorganize my herbs and healing library on the shelves. The bottom shelf may still be dedicated to photography, but the middle two shelves will be taken up by books. ….

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A missed bus, English, August, and a wasted life? (part 1)

+25 Jan. 2005 Tues. ~9:30am,  13 August 10 Fri. 12:15pm, 23 August 10 Mon. ~9:00am, & the better part of September 2010

While waiting for the bus at Poplar & Clark this morning, I sat in a pleasant, sunny spot that Hi and I had discovered a few days before.  This morning I am re-reading (for the umpteenth time) English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee when I come across this rather poignant and telling passage.  The scene takes place at The Club, and Agastya (the August of the title) has just endured an afternoon playing cards with his superiors where the atmosphere is a smoldering rendition of politics as usual:

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