books, quotes

as telescoped and important as “Montaigne”

“Recalling the urgency I felt about my Work as a young sprat makes me laugh inwardly, a long, low, mocking guffaw that would curdle the blood of anyone who heard it. My Work! I still have it all somewhere, all the reprehensibly impish doggerel, the self-serious philosophical grandiosities. The arrogance of youth–those poems I wrote stank like soiled diapers in the sun, the essays were so snot-nosed they might as well have been written with colored chalk on a sidewalk in a hopscotch pattern. […] I cringe to think of the way I used to whisper aloud my own name, Hugo Whittier, the smarmy thrill I would feel at my breathless intimations, soon-to-be renowned. . . .As I recall, I intended that it would be shortened, in seminars and in conferences, to a crisp ‘Whittier,’ as telescoped and important as ‘Montaigne,’ or (the happy young Hugo inside me whispers urgently) ‘Shakespeare.’ ”

– Kate Christensen. The Epicure’s Lament. Doubleday: 2004. (204.)

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