1. A wonderful article in the WSJ (which Kate over at The Lovers, The Dreamers & Me discusses artfully) titled Tinkering With The Ideal discusses how, or if, artists ever know when a work is truly finished. Here's an example cited by the article:
"The Portrait of a Lady," published in 1881, Henry James described a kiss in 16 well-chosen words: "His kiss was like a flash of lightning; when it was dark again she was free." When he revised the novel a quarter-century later for the New York Edition of his collected works, he rewrote that sentence extensively, making it more complex and far more sexually explicit: "His kiss was like white lightning, a flash that spread, and spread again, and stayed; and it was extraordinarily as if, while she took it, she felt each thing in his hard manhood that had least pleased her, each aggressive fact of his face, his figure, his presence, justified of its intense identity and made one with this act of possession. So had she heard of those wrecked and under water following a train of images before they sink. But when darkness returned she was free."
We readers are to answer - which is better? Is there an improvement? What do you think?
2. Turns out, Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg in Webster, Mass., is spelled incorrectly. What are the chances?
3. This woman creates purses out of books that, wait for it...she CUTS UP! The nerve. She says Pride and Prejudice is her most requested book bag. (But now, of course, I want one, darnit.) Here's the on-line catalogue for her company, ReBound Designs.
--She tinkered late into the night, adjusting the words on the page without pride or prejudice, trying to describe his Jamesian lightning kiss, only stopping once in a while to consult the dictionary in her purse, which had once actually been a dictionary, for the proper spelling of Lake CharraoggoagooaoooRobBlagojevichOoogaChuckaOoogaChuckaMaoMao.