Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lincoln's Lands

Being surrounded, in Indiana, by states that have claims to make on Abraham Lincoln, I have become accustomed to not really thinking much about Honest Abe.  With the recent election of our President, however, and the apparent need on Public Television for a Doris Kearns Goodwin Hour each week (so often do we see her), I've become somewhat more aware of my ignorance about the Great Emancipator.  Then, this week, I saw that at least three hours of programming would be aired by American Experience, and a special made by Henry Louis Gates Jr. called Looking for Lincoln.  With all this Lincoln this season, and this week, it seemed like it behooved me to at least look up info on the little experience I've had in Indiana with everyone's favorite President.  Concerning the map above, I couldn't find a size that was small enough for the blog, but big enough to see in great detail.  So you might, but probably cannot, see that part of the path of Lincoln's funeral train back to Springfield, Illinois goes through Boone County and my childhood town of Zionsville.  In fact, I remembered once I started thinking about Lincoln, in Zionville, at first and Oak streets, is a park named Lincoln park, for the train that stopped in Zionsville.   My friend Casey was married there a few years back.  I used to eat breakfast there with my brother before our tennis lessons, and I used to take breaks there when running to, I'm not really sure what, chew gum?  Maybe.  It wouldn't surprise me.

The website I got that map off, it turns out, has a lovely chart showing where the train went on its way from DC to Springfield.  Very thoughtfully laid out, all the way down to little 'ole Zionsville.  Kind of amazing.

There has been alot of other stuff that I have learned and seen recently as well.  For some reason we humans are real suckers for the memorialization of the dead.  So whenever I come across a long list of reminisces about a figure whom I know a little about I usually can't help but read for far too long. Such was the case on David Foster Wallace yesterday when I came across a blog called Hermenautic Circle Blog.  Apparently it is made up of a somewhat exclusive group of contributers 100 members strong.  Writers, musicians, carneys (carnival workers), ect.  Apparently the circus isn't looking for new members.  I enjoyed reading their memorial to David Foster Wallace anyway.  My favorite reminisces were the ones that started, "I've never actually read David Foster Wallace but, he changed...."  To be followed by the heartbreaking, "I have felt guilty about not reading Infinite Jest (Wallace wonderful novel from the '90s), but I love his short ficiton and non-fiction."  My point isn't of course that you had to read Infinite Jest, just that the confession seems motivated by some kind of macabre shame due to his death.  Needless to say, I enjoyed Infinite Jest.  Read it in Arizona in 2001, Tucson I believe.  Took a couple days in a Barnes and Noble that looked out over the desert mountains.  I frequently remember a scene where a character is described by Wallace as suspended between his impulses, in his living room.  Suspended between a desire to go into the kitchen, and a desire to sit and absorb info-tainment.  Or something to that effect.  The image in my head was, and I think it was Wallace's intention to allude to this, a crucifixion.  Between a microwave beep and Bob Barker, is sort of my molested recollection.  About once a week I see, feel, hear, get a sort of Deja Vu ish feeling about that scene. And that was before Mr. Wallace hung himself.  I really hate the idea that depression can be so powerful a force in peoples' lives.  I get depressed sometimes, but never that kind of depression.  Everything read about it makes depression seem worse than I could imagine.  And yes, like everyone, I have lost a lot of friends to either suicide, or some slower form of death due to depression.  It is awful.

On a completely more pointless and joyful (read: lifelike) note.  I was trolling random blogs last night and I came across this insane graphic artist's rendition of a series of kids books called "I Can Read Movies".  The artist calls himself SpaceSick, check it out.  Guy seems like a genius to me.  I don't know why I like flippant whimsy so much in this world.  Though, the paragraph above would seem to suggest certain influences.  In any case, a great deal of pleasure is going to be had by me through the work of SpaceSick in the future I imagine.  I haven't got a problem with that.

Dead White Guys, Dead Promise, and SpaceSick makes a EggTimer Ring.

Andy Coffey

No comments: