Welter


[Asako Narahashi - Kawaguchiko, 2003 via]

Today -- reading Moby Dick on the bus, so keen to the sensations of heat and sweat and the prickle of the rough bus seat fabric on the backs of my legs, reading about Ishmael and his absolute, infinite love for the globules of spermaceti through which he must run his fingers, bursting the casings and returning what had separated off to the vast pot of strange, expensive liquid.

The book is so surprising to me -- just as when I read Don Quixote -- a leviathan of literature that carries ponderous weight with it and yet, upon reading, becomes so fresh, so hilarious, so surprising. It's the sensuousness that surprises me the most -- not the catalogues of facts or the musings on human nature, etc -- it's the shocking, curious sensual descriptions -- Stubbs eating his whale-steaks by whale-light, Ishmael and the spermaceti, the 'Hindoo' fumes of the rendered blubber, the amber-gris in all its perfumed and visceral glory. Twice now I have had vivid dreams taken straight from this book, the most recent featuring a cone of spermaceti ice cream adorned with gold flakes and amber clusters. It was described on the placard as tasting of 4 cinnamon rolls all in one.