First read: 1993
Owned since: 1993
Last week I turned in two massive projects and had rehearsals every night. This week I have rehearsals every night, too, but my workload's a little more reasonable, so the blog schedule should be back to normal. And it's spring -- really, despite the current temperature of 19F -- so I feel more energetic in general.
I have mixed feelings about the idea of a canon of books that everyone should read, but it's comforting when people get your references -- and disconcerting when you find that someone has no idea what you're talking about. For example, a castmate in a show I'm currently involved in does not know the correct pronunciation of the name "Esau." It baffles and frustrates me, and I can barely restrain myself from interrupting -- or, worse, from saying something truly obnoxious like, "Uh, Old Testament? Esau, Jacob's brother? A hairy man, not a smooth man? Sold his birthright for a mess of pottage?" It's important to recognize one's character flaws, and I know that I get insufferable about this stuff.
But I'm thinking about bringing this book along to the next rehearsal. It's a collection of traditional but offbeat children's poems, with cheerfully nasty illustrations by Maurice Sendak. The title poem is one that I originally learned a slightly different version of:
I saw Esau kissing Kate,
The fact is we all three saw;
For I saw him,
And he saw me,
And Kate saw I saw Esau.
It's not clever unless you understand that "Esau" rhymes with "three saw."
If a canon exists, childhood rhymes are the beginning. We don't all need to know the words to "I Saw Esau," but how can we talk to each other if we can't all sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"?