Review: Ever hear of Seymour Krim? I never had either. Rarely do I read every word of the essays that I review. I read every word of this one.
Americans dream, the American dream and, for many of us, it ends with failure. That is the sum and substance of this essay.
Quote: “We are all victims of the imagination in this country. The American dream may sometimes seem like a dirty joke these days, but it was internalized long ago by our fevered little minds and it remains to haunt us as we fumble with the unglamorous pennies of life during the illusionless middle years.”
Quote: “One life was never quite enough for what I had in mind.”
Quote: “Consider…a boy at the turn of the 30’s growing up in this land without parents, discipline, any religion to speak of, yet with a famished need that almost unconsciously filled the vacuum where the solid family heart should be….”
Quote: “But my point is this: what a great fitting-room for experimentation, a huge sci-fi lab for making the self you wanted; America was for those of us who needed models, forms, shapes we could throw ourselves into.”
Quote: “Yet those of us who have never really nailed it down, who have charged through life from enthusiasm to enthusiasm, from new project to new project, even from personality-revolution to personality revolution….”
Quote: “Sadly enough, it is the kind that people…often take to psychiatrists, hoping to simplify their experience because they can’t cope with the murderous tangle of it.”
To be continued.
The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books, 1995.