Monday, December 13, 2010

Reader's Diary #670- Fielding Dawson: The Vertical Fields

When I think of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Keruoac, and William S. Burroughs, I can't help but think of Christmas trees, candy canes, and baby Jesus in a manger. No? Then how about Fielding Dawson?

Fielding Dawson, according to the Riverfront Times Blog, is the "best St. Louis writer you've never heard of," was known for writing in a stream of consciousness before the term was even coined, and was one of the more lesser known beat writers. So what was he doing writing a Christmas story?

Walking down memory lane apparently. "The Vertical Fields" is a nostalgic look at going to Christmas mass in 1940s Missouri. Punch and cookies, tinseled trees, a jewel glittering church... In Linden MacIntyre's The Bishop's Man, father Victor says that Christmas
takes over the memory temporarily. And memory makes Christmas bittersweet. Each of the senses stores identical impressions year after year. We hear the same sounds, we hear the same colours, inhale the same fragrances. The language of Christmas is unchanging, full of false celebration and hysterical good will.
Well, sure, if you put it that way, it sounds depressing. But I like the same sounds, colours, and fragrances year after year. There's comfort in that. Peace with the utterly familiar. And Dawson almost captures that. It's tainted on occasion by the encroachments of beat style, but charming otherwise. Now break out Bob Dylan's Christmas in the Heart CD. Maughssss be Saaanta. Maughsss be Saaanta....

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below...)


Anonymous said...

Sure, why not?
I did write a review, and although the story is not incongruous, my reaction to it might be.…richard-hughes/


Carrie K said...

Actually it sounded fairly familial, comforting and traditional, if he hadn't weighted it with "false" and "hysterical".

Besides a little false celebration goes a long way towards a happy family gathering.

Teddy Rose said...

I just noticed I forgot to give my link for last weeks short: