Nicholson Baker, A Box of Matches

“Good morning, it’s January and it’s 4:17 a.m., and I’m going to sit here in the dark…”

Emmett has a wife, two children, and a duck. Every day he gets up before dawn, makes a cup of coffee in the dark, lights a fire with a wooden match, and ponders what life is all about:

“At times, when I sit here, a long series of daytime thoughts will pass through me–thoughts connected with work or, say, with town politics. That’s all right–let those thoughts pass through you. You hear them coming, like a freight train with the whistle dinging; they take several minutes to go by, and then they’re gone. Remember that it’s very early in the morning–early, early, early, early.”

A little more about trains:

“I would like to visit the factory that makes train horns, and ask them how they are able to arrive at that chord of eternal mournfulness. Is it deliberately sad? Are the horns saying, Be careful, stay away from this train or it will run you over and then people will grieve, and their grief will be as the inconsolable wail of this horn through the night? The out-of-tuneness of the triad is part of its beauty.”

Some good advice:

“What you do first thing can influence your whole day. If the first thing you do is stump to the computer in your pajamas to check your e-mail, blinking and plucking your proverbs, you’re going to be in a hungry electronic funk all morning. So don’t do it.”

I love how Baker can make seemingly ordinary things so extraordinary.

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  6. classicmcconnell reblogged this from crashinglybeautiful and added:
    Craziness. I’m reading this book right now. It makes my morning commute so much more enjoyable.
  7. unsunglory reblogged this from crashinglybeautiful and added:
    added to the to-read list
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