April, spring ... and another blog.
Spring is my favorite time of year. I explain why in my book Inside Inside: I confess that I am hugely fond of beginnings and, by logical inference, averse to endings. I don't know whether this makes me an optimist or a pessimist, but I've long since reconciled myself to the fact that it's there and it's never going to go away.
April may be the cruelest month to Eliot, but to me it's the kindest, with its portents of spring, which is crammed with beginnings. Of holidays, I enjoy Memorial Day because it officially begins the pleasant summer season, and dislike Labor Day because it ends it. Thanksgiving is welcome because it begins the Christmas season, of which I confess to being inordinately fond, and I'm resistant to the compulsory joy of New Year's Eve, because it ends it.
This affection for beginnings has had a predictable effect on my preferences. Though I should know better than to invite comparison with my betters as I begin my own literary effort, I confess to unbridled admiration for the blunt simplicity of "Call me Ishmael"; the instant dramatic engagement of "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"; the authorial certainty of "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way"; the ringing challenge of Donne's "Go and catch a falling star,/Get with child a mandrake root"; the quiet fury of Yeats' "Turning and turning in the widening gyre/The falcon cannot hear the falconer;/Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;" the stately opening chords of Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, which greet us not with the C-major tonic but with a submediant A minor chord, as if the boat had left the dock without us, and we had no choice but to jump in and swim after it; the ominous minor key (verbally and musically) of Irving Berlin's "There may be trouble ahead," before he shifts jubilantly to a major key for "Let's face the music and dance!"