The Ideal American Setting For Classic Literature

classic literatureThis is never-ending. I mean, I have to re-write something a hundred times before it’s close to good. I wonder if it will get easier when I’m an old man, long used to writing. I doubt it. Then I’ll lament that I have nothing more to prove, none of youth’s vigor and exuberance. Grass is always greener.

But even though I’m somewhat tired, and I’ve called upon my guitar to be my friend tonight, there’s something satisfying about being alone with the sound of the rain running through the gutter, like water being continually, quietly sucked down the bathtub drain. It is so soothing, like my own private fountain, that I’d almost feel guilty about forsaking this perfect night to write.

Thomas Mann chose a sanatorium as the setting for his masterpiece of classic literature because it is strangely representative of a pre-war Germany. Everyone is sick, and yet there are luxuries and traditions that are important to maintain in that hermetic enclosure high in the mountains. In the same way, the ideal American setting is the open road, or the large city, or both, preferably. Because ours is a melting pot, not a country formerly of separate kingdoms. That’s why we aren’t going to disband our currency.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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