at 4 a.m. last night as the snow came down from heaven and locked me in this icy tomb . . . i sat in an easy chair with a blanket over my lap drinking wine and reading from ‘moby-dick.’ man, these words, i’ll tell you: they sing a dark streak into my soul. there was terrible noise in my head otherwise. you give these demons even a mouse hole of an entrance and they’ll reach into you and fill you like smoke. . . .
anyway: ‘moby-dick,’ which is 165 years old, says more to me than any human i’ve ever met, that’s for damn sure! the first page is about a guy sort of joking around that whenever he feels gloomy or suicidal he has to get on a boat and be away from humans and land. later he warns not to let the fire invert thee, as it did him. god, ishmael, it’s too late for me too! the fire has got in me. i sure am inverted.
i have never had any luck finding comfort in stories where the heroes win and go home, or someone is, uh, redeemed or finds hope or has their soul renewed, and so on. no sir! i like a book with a boat whose life preserver is a coffin . . . a book with a whole chapter on the eery feeling brought on by supernatural whiteness! ishmael climbs into the crow’s nest and says that he is ill-equipped for the job of whale lookout, saying that dreamy, melancholy souls should never be put in a place where time and space warp in one’s head and one becomes part of the ocean itself, just by looking out at its endlessness!
ishmael is initially prejudiced against a lot of things . . . or at least he thinks he knows better, and finds certain things to be disgusting or uncouth. but as soon as queequeg wraps his arms around him in the bed they share, he softens, and laughs like hell about it.
“i try all things; i achieve what i can.”
i was getting chills reading this stuff. the doom train sailed right into my heart. this is the greatest work of imagination anyone has ever produced, i am sure of it!!!
finally: i know my fate, man. i am ishmael now. i will be ahab later.