Restless type. Mostly irony-free wingnut. Celebrator of trees. Stilt walker. Given to rare fits of poetry. Boot junkie and whiskey enthusiast. Blabbermouth with only a vague notion of TMI. Vermont secessionist expatriate. Moss sniffer. Stray cat petting machine. Alternative school graduate. Mountain admirer. Tattooed non-professional. Mild-mannered atheist and polite anarchist. Big city person with rural inclinations, or maybe it's the other way around.
My name is Nicole Cipri. I'm a writer and a wingnut, among other things. This is my tumblr, aka, a curated mess of memes and half-finished thoughts.
Floating somewhere around the internet, there’s a “Blog 100 Things About Something or Other” challenge. A few of my peeps have signed up, but I wasn’t planning to. Because, like, 100 posts? That’s asking a lot from me. I’m a busy person. I have things to do. (Right now, I’m making soup and editing a short story and wondering if I threw away last Sunday’s crossword and skipping out on an actual obligation to one of my jobs. I am a champion multitasker.)
Then I realized: I can so easily write 100 things about books. I work in a bookstore, so a good 40 hours of my life every week are devoted to handling, wrapping, shipping, receiving, retrieving, and blathering about books. I have had so many conversations about The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey,you don’t even want to know. I have a lot of opinions about books.
So here is my first of a hundred things about books: Jorge Luis Borges writes the best opening lines.
I just started reading Borges. I found a used copy of his Collected Fictions at the store. I have read three stories so far. I slogged my way through “Tlön, Uqbar, and Orbis Tertius”, which, holy shit. That’ll get its own post at some day. On the train ride home, I read “Man in the Pink Corner”, and “The Cruel Redeemer Lazarus Morell.”
Here are the three opening lines for those three very different stories:
I owe the discovery of Uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia.
Imagine you bringing up Francisco Real that way, out of the clear blue sky, him dead and gone and all.
In 1517, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, feeling great pity for the Indians who grew worn and lean in the drudging infernos of the Antillean gold mines, proposed to Emperor Charles V that Negroes be brought to the isles of the Carribean, so they might grow worn and lean in the drudging infernos of the Antillean gold mines.
I’m not going to dissect these opening lines, because I am out of college and pretty done with literary theory and criticism at this point in my life. I am just going to reiterate that every one of these lines melts my soul like a Nutella in a microwave.
I have also decided that when Borges talks about either the sky or a river, you shut your dirty mouth and listen.
The Mississippi is a broad-chested river, a dark and infinite brother of the Paraná, the Uruguay, the Amazon, and the Orinoco. It is a river of mulatto-hued water; more than four hundred million tons of mud, carried by that water, insult the Gulf of Mexico each year. All that venerable and ancient waste has created a delta where gigantic swamp cypresses grow from the slough of a continent in perpetual dissolution and where labyrinths of clay, dead fish, and swamp reeds push out the borders and extend the peace of their fetid empire.
Which, just, what do I even say to that?
“Perpetual dissolution”, oh my god. Take me now.
Okay, so now that I’ve squeed about Borges, anything else book-related you want to ask me about? Feel free to leave suggestions in my ask box.