Monday, July 25, 2005

Free as a Beard

I've never read any Bellow before. I know that he has something of an unassailable reputation, and that he was given to cranky criticism of his contemporaries, which also helps. I'm about a hundred pages into Herzog, which-- needless to say-- is real good-like.

I particularly like this quote: "The echo of the train came back from the straw like a voice through a beard." It's my favorite kind of simile: it conveys meaning, adds richness to the description, and makes little sense. Also: it features facial hair, which is nearly as funny as pork. Few beards of which I'm aware cover the mouth like mossy surgical masks (see; I can do it too). Or perhaps he meant a beard that covers the entrance to the listener's ear. Either way, that's a serious beard. Since I have ballplayers of the 1970s and 1980s on the brain these days, allow me to invoke the beard-memories of Enrique Romo (11 seasons in the Mexican League!) and Gorman Thomas here.