Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Old Forest – Peter Taylor




Peter Taylor - January 8, 1917 – November 2, 1994

I was a little worried about this story as I grew closer to reading it. In the introduction, Elkin mentions that this is a long story, and in past posts, I have complained (why...I don't know - just shut up and read!) about the length of some of these stories.

I was glad though that it was by Taylor because I really enjoyed his previous story in the BASS. You can find it here.

I am very fond of his style and I have found that reading him is quite easy.

As I started this story, I fell into an easy rhythm. I enjoyed the point of view that was chosen, and I like the digressions he took. There was a wonderful psychological edge to the story and that also kept me interested.

Taylor is another author that I would model myself after if I was an author.

Perhaps the Southern setting and the Southern atmosphere that Taylor does so well at bringing to life through his words is what attracts me to his stories.

The Old Forest

Looking back in my life, I think that some of the Forests I ran into caused huge shifts in the direction of my life, and that shift was a positive one.

There are several that I can point to.

-My decision to go to Norwich.

-My decision to live in New Jersey after Norwich...and not go to Russia with the Peace Corps.

-My decision to spend time in the restaurant world.

-My decision to leave NJ and move to Norfolk and work in Gourmet Foods manufacturing for two years.

-My decision to join the Peace Corps and live in RO for 2.5 years.

-And finally, to work in print media and remain today in print media when it seems as if the foundation of the institution is crumbling- or is it just morphing?

Now, were all of these Forests?

Well, some of the decisions that were made could almost seem to be viewed as being made in desperation.

I don’t think I “planned” on making any of them. I don’t recall a moment in my life where I saw one of those decisions up there on the list on my “someday I wish I can” list.

I think that I have just kind of rolled with the waves of life. I haven’t really strived to be anything – yet. I just exist where I am and I manage to make the best out of it.

But you know, as the Forest in this story provided comfort and a sort of camouflage to one of the characters, the Forest of life can be a very frightening place.

We can stumble into them...or run into them and find that we have become lost. The trees block out the sunlight – points of reference all begin to look the same. Strange noises find their way into our brain confusing our thoughts. We can run into a Forest with the intention of coming out the other side as someone new-or, we can run into the Forest and never come out.

Perhaps we find that we enjoy living in the Forest.

After writing the above sentences, I think that it is best that we venture into Forests from time to time – to push the limits of our lives, to recognize that we are still alive, human and we can either find excitement or that which frightens us. Either way, it can be good.

So, seeing that we are about ½ way through January, I think that will strive this year to work harder at getting into more Forests and discovering what they have to offer.

I can’t wait.

1 comment:

  1. NOKAJ--Great to hear of another Peter Taylor fan. He is a writer that we dearly miss and need to find more of! (to end a sentence on a preposition. You have an impressive list of writers there...keep it up.
    John
    johncoynebooks.com
    peacecorpsworldwide.org

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