The other day I was lying in the woods, on a hammock on a mountaintop, reading aloud to young people, and wondered, for a second, why there was no professional job market for reading aloud on hammocks to young people, why there isn’t a real market demand for just such a role and why imagined salaries for such work wouldn’t rival those of morally questionable military contractors or knee-breaking thugmasters. And of course, what happened next was obvious: my bliss at the hammock and the mountain and the good book and the eager young people were corrupted, and for a split second I was Don Jenaro, an unbeliever and a nasty harridanny crank. Here’s the quote I came back to when we climbed down the hill:
There had been times in his youth, in the ardor of young manhood, when he had cherished ambitions to be somebody great and important. He had not succeeded in surpassing a decent mediocrity. But in this assured, deep-rooted, indestructible mediocrity he had the satisfaction of thinking about those who struggled, those who had a faith, an ideal, a political, social, or artistic belief for which they strove, for which they suffered privations and anxieties – and which perhaps they never saw realized.
I mean, it’s enough to force even the likes of to shut the valve off and get back to reading affectionately to the children.
On a mostly unrelated note, one of the top authors in Miette’s Preferred Podcasted Authors Network here, Bart Midwood, has a new project in the works that I can’t help but pass along. Do add word of The Francophile to your Myface Twitty Bookmarks Feeds and if you’re in the area we’ll go see it together on opening night.
3 thoughts on “An Unbeliever”
Miette, this may be oneof your most obscure yet. Can you tell us where you found this story? I’d live to read more Azorin.
Sweet little story.
Okay, my suggestions for summer reading — mostly fantasies alas:
Avilion by Robert Holdstock
If you like fantasy and if you like the beach and mermaid urban fantasy: Seaborn by Chris Seaborn
There’s The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney.
There’s also my book: Wind Follower. If you like fantasy, romance, and tribal folklore.
If you like modern Korean romance,
Tongue by Kyung-Ran Jo
Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off is also pretty good, if you’re into the politics of chocolate.
Wow, a million fantastic thanks to Carole! It’s always a little bit of bliss to find out who’s -really- listening, and I’ll definitely check out your book. The chocolate book has been on my longlist for a while, but I haven’t dared crack it yet. Chocolate’s just about the last thing on earth that’s -not- depressing, after all.
Shady: It’s great, isn’t it? I haven’t found much in English (this story came from an anthology of world fiction). If you read Spanish I can hook you up; otherwise, I’ll extend the question. Somebody Help Shady Find Some Azorin, For The Love Of All Things Not Yet Depressing…