Welcome to The Literary Outpost, my new blog.
My name is Jeffrey Mays. I had another blog for about 4 years where I posted rants and quirky stuff in an undisciplined way, and anonymously. Because it was just for my own fun, and because of the stage of life I was in, I posted a casserole of topics – political grumbling, short stories, comic attempts, observations, reflections, movie reviews etc. I decided it was time to move on.
So what am I doing with this new blog?
A few friends have told me that they envy my book club, going strong for over 13 years now, always meeting outdoors (so we can smoke), under every sort of meteorological inclemency, at The Dog And Duck – a book club called Athenaeum. These envious people are either dear female friends (the club is guys-only) or they live in other cities, or their schedule will not permit their attendance. They want to read more, to have a literary life. But they don’t know where to start. Perhaps they started Moby Dick, but got so bewildered that they laid it down. They wish they had a community of friends who also read good books and talked about them. They know that there is some secret knowledge out there that our modern world has lost. They sense that these people they have heard of – Hemingway, Steinbeck, Dostoyevsky, Joyce – laid down their precious jewels in volumes of literature which in today’s world is virtually lost, and might as well be written in secret code.
Now seriously, I usually need help too. Reading Flannery O’Connor‘s Wise Blood last month was a tough road. But having a group of 10 other guys made it possible to piece it together and come away with an enrichment I could never have found alone.
And yes, we are all better people for having read Wise Blood and parsed out the symbolism and savored her gift for words and the weaving of eternal mystery into her stories. There IS a lost knowledge, only made elusive by the loss of the language in our culture, but there waiting nonetheless, available for less than $15 at a used book store.
So this blog is for those who 1) have a literary life already and are glad for more and 2) for those who want some little place they can go to that will give them a little nibble of the enjoyment of that secret life of books, or 3) It is also for writers like myself who are not only enjoying the best literature, but are attempting to play the cultural pathologist, to say something in fictional form, with skill and perception into the mystery part of life that O’Connor talked about. I will share some of my own creative work as well as discuss others – oftentimes, what I happen to be reading.
But my hope is that you will come to The Literary Outpost looking for a serving of the literary life. Not that I am a great authority. No, I just read books. And I talk about it here with you. And you respond with your own observations and suggestions. And perhaps we can find little nuggets of literary mystery together and enjoy them. That is why I’m writing this new blog.
(Oh, I have a novel I finished this summer and am looking for a publisher or agent, if you…you know, know any…one…like that.)