Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I Am Still Here
My last workshop in the morning, and we're opening with D.J. Waldie's Holy Land, which I've never taught before, even though it's one of my favorite books ever. I'm not sure it's possible to capture the essence of the story with just one of its many short sections--its power comes from repetition, accumulation--but I keep going back to this one in my head.
(Above: two early images of Lakewood, California, where the book is set.)
from Holy Land
He could not choose to deny his father, even less his father's beliefs. These have become as material to him as the stucco-over-chicken-wire from which these houses are made.
It is not a question of denying the city in which he lives, though he doubts his father cared much for living in it. He doubts if his father cared for much of anything you would find familiar at all.
"I am still here," he often tells himself. This is how he has resurrected his father's obligations, which he sometimes mistakes for his father's faith.
"I will never go away," he once told the girl he loved, because it suited her desperation and his notion of the absurd.
Loving Christ badly was finally the best he could do.