Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Word of the Day: Sublunary

sublunary: of, relating to, or characteristic of the terrestrial world

Many thanks to Julian Barnes for bringing sublunary back into my life, a word I used to use but that somehow, in recent decades, had forgotten all about. And many thanks to the random person on the internet for dropping this beautiful quote from Barnes' Elizabeth Finch, a book that jettisoned up my ToBeRead list. The crux of the quote--that reason may mislead us just as much as passion--is the nugget of so many conversations I had along the way with Larry Becker, who I miss all the time but miss most keenly in late October.
“We must certainly consider, not just in this class, but outside it, in our own turbulent and fretful lives, the element of chance. The number of people we deeply meet is strangely few. Passion may mislead us furiously. Reason may mislead us just as much. Our genetic inheritance might hamstring us. So might previous events in our lives. It is not just soldiers in the field who later suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. It is often the inevitable consequence of a seemingly normal sublunary existence.”
In fact, this whole review brought so many beautiful half-remembered things into my world today, I'm looking forward to an autumnal investigation of each of them, not the least of which is that a "twice or thrice a year lunch, lasting exactly 75 minutes" can be a significant relationship, an idea I know to be true and the truth of which was so compelling that I stopped reading the review and started writing about that (sorry Joanna, maybe I'll go back and read the rest of the review later; I wouldn't bet on it though). 

And there's also the idea of an "exiled soul," and such a thing as "literary travel." 
This was a gem found on the dirt road.