October 13, 2003
De vermis. Blogger and journalist Andrew Brown published a book about worms and subsequently awoke to discover that he had, instead, collaborated with John Updike on a history of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Elsewhere and not long ago, Brown published some observations about the slow and terrible death of a friend’s wife:
When I last saw her, in the observation ward next door, she was completely immobile, vegetal, in her wheelchair. Now, when she lies in bed there are fragments of sudden movement, none of which seem to be connected to anything. It is like watching an ocean liner go down, as the water floods the different switchboxes: lights go on and off in the ballroom; in the cargo hold a crane rattles across the ceiling, chains swinging. The master’s wheel suddenly twirls decisively. But the master and all the crew fled long ago.If I were a better writer I’d conclude by yoking the trivial to the tragic, relating the twin inevitabilities of death and database error by means of a rhetorical figure involving worms. Meanwhile, Andrew Brown is a good writer. [09:50 AM]