Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Admitting I Was Wrong

Wife kitteh is tending to mama kitteh right now, so I've got a break and can blog.

If you've missed a previous chapter in this story, 90-year-old mama kitteh is dying. She's got a broken hip, is bedridden, practically blind, needs oxygen and a feeding tube and is partially demented. In her demented thrashing about the other night, she ripped out her feeding tube. That's actually a good thing as it will accelerate the process and she is that much closer to joining her husband of 68 years, my father, who died about two years ago. She misses him tremendously and I'm sure he misses her as well.

On with the show.

Sitting with mama kitteh while she has drifted through morphine dreamland, I came across a collection of Kipling stories on her bookshelves. I've always been a fan, but considered him not quite as good as Charles Dickens, who I felt was the greatest writer of all time. I was wrong. Kipling is simply unmatched. His writing is a hybrid of poetry and prose, condensing oceans of information into single paragraphs. Consider this from a short story that you've never heard of before, Only A Subaltern.
Papa Wick had been a Commissioner in his day, holding authority over three millions of men in the Chota-Buldana Division, building great works for the good of the land, and doing his best to make two blades of grass grow where there was but one before. Of course, nobody knew anything about this in the little English village where he was just ‘old Mr. Wick,’ and had forgotten that he was a Companion of the Order of the Star of India.
In a single paragraph, Kipling gives you a rich sketch of Papa Wick's life, his personality, his place in the world and the way the world used and rewarded him. Your imagination can fill in stories from his life with ease. That paragraph simply blew my mind. It's pure genius. It's so good that it filled me with excitement and I've read it over and over in awe.

I was indeed wrong. Dickens is fabulous, make no mistake. But then there's Kipling and as far as I've read, there's none better.

All I can say is, "Dude."


Foxfier said...

I still prefer Chesterton-- or Sheen if we're going to expand into spoken art-- but is a very valid disagreement.

K T Cat said...

I agree on Chesterton, but I think his fiction is second tier at best. "The Everlasting Man" is simply genius.

I'm not familiar with Sheen, but I will add him to my list.

Foxfier said...

Goodness, I haven't ranted at you about Sheen yet?

He's the guy I credit with bringing my husband back to the Church-- he'd been so badly used I didn't know he'd even been baptized Catholic until he'd come back to the Church (it's complicated, I can explain if you're curious) but he was an honest agnostic. And then I started listening to a ton of "Life is Worth Living" on youtube, clicked.

We hope to make the ceremony to recognize his sainthood this December.


Fiction-wise, yeah, I like Father Brown and some of Chesterton's quasi-sci-fi stuff, but mostly it's meh; his nonfiction is what gets to me.

Foxfier said...

(that reader is terrible, btw, I just love the article)

Better example of Sheen performing:

Foxfier said...

Aaaand another:

K T Cat said...