Thursday, June 10, 2010

Essay: "A Piece of Chalk." G.K. Chesterton.

Review: He wants to draw pictures on brown paper. He has several pieces of colored chalk.. He goes out along the landscape where he sits in isolation—not to draw the landscape but to draw spiritual objects like the soul of a cow. Like the great men who wrote about spiritual things, the real soul of the universe.

But he has forgotten to bring white chalk. Here follows a dissertation about the color white, which is a positive color, not the mere absence of color. And then he remembers that he is sitting on white chalk, the White Cliffs: “The landscape was made entirely out of white chalk…. I stooped and broke a piece of the rock I sat on.” So now he can complete his pictures of spiritual things.

Comment: I have never quite understood why G.K. Chesterton is so popular. I guess I’m just not smart enough to understand his ideas. He almost seems as if he is talking to himself—the kinds of things you would never say to another rational human being. RayS.

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books. A Division of Random House, Inc. 1995.

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