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July 31st, 2006
01:16 pm
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The Men That Don't Fit In
I'm reading Truman Capote's In Cold Blood while laid up at the ranch. Never having read Capote before, I'm getting an introduction to his writing style (which I have to admit I'm finding disjointed, a frustration) as well as to his story. In Cold Blood is non-fiction, an account of a multiple murder in Kansas in the 1950s. It's somewhat slow reading (which isn't helped by his writing style), and crime dramas aren't really in keeping with the spirit of the trail, but I guess at least it's giving me something to do.

From a thru-hiker perspective, there was one extremely interesting passage in the middle, though. One of the perpetrators, in a letter to a woman he's walking away from a relationship with, writes the following poem (which in the book is identified as being a quote of someone else's work, but is unattributed):
There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.
If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.

"Sweet!" I thought when I read that. "I've got to go source that on the Internet."

It turns out that it's from "The Spell of the Yukon," by Robert W. Service. And I found the entire poem out on the Web.

Having read it, I can sure see why the quote stopped where it did.

Current Location: Muir Trail Ranch
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(10 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:July 31st, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC)
Is/Was that your first exposure to his work?
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Date:July 31st, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC)
Can't be! Who doesn't know of the "Shooting of Dan McGrew" never watched Tex Avery....
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Date:July 31st, 2006 09:47 pm (UTC)
BTW Thanks, Baxil for the link....
I've renewed an acquaintance with an old friend there...
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Date:July 31st, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow... I remember reading his poems at night in Mountain View cemetary by flashlight. Especially The Cremation of Sam McGee.
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Date:August 2nd, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
Capote or Service? Wait ... yes.
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Date:August 1st, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
I can't believe you haven't read "In Cold Blood". Piker! If I'd known that I would have loaned you my copy. Jeeze.

Just think: I grew up about 100 miles from where that took place, my dad was trained by one of the highway patrol men and the newspaper editor was one of my journalism profs.

/a little homesick
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Date:August 1st, 2006 02:05 am (UTC)
It looks to me like Capote was trying a little too hard to be a genius. Maybe he was a genius; he wrote himself into the story, he used an intrusive writing style, and yet I still liked the book. Takes some talent to pull off such a style.

As for Robert's words, though not quite absurd
Taken by themselves, alone,
The stress he'd choose, and the meter use,
Tend to make me curse and groan.
On will gallop lines til' they make you blind.
Boy, his meter sure gets frayed;
With the sourdoughs of so long ago
I could wish his verse had stayed.
Date:August 1st, 2006 02:12 am (UTC)


Hi there Redtail...
We are happy to see your posts again! We are just a few hours behind in reading it--exciting.Please take good care of your knee. Wish I had sent the Sudoku I had thought of mailing awhile back but you did make use of the time you had.We send much love and I know Sarah does too.
Mom and Dad
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Date:August 1st, 2006 04:27 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link to the whole poem.

The first part might be the most romantic, the part that every wanderer would want to quote to themselves, but the rest of it is true, too. Without a frontier, there's no direction for the wanderers, so they stumble from one thing to the next, fighting their own urges along the way. They try to stay put for long enough to get ahead and accomplish any one of the thousands of things they have in mind, but ... they ... just ... can't.

I know.
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Date:August 2nd, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
Me, too.
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