The second childhood

I never thought that traits that are strong in childhood disappear; they may go underground or they may be transmuted into something else, but they do not vanish; very often they make a vigorous appearance after the meridian of life has been passed. It is this, and not senility, that is the real second childhood. I could see this pattern in myself; my boyhood trick of getting off « good ones » that went far beyond any necessary self-defence and were likely to wound, had come back to me in my fifties. I was going to be a sharp-tongued old man as I had been a sharp-tongue boy. And Boy Staunton had reached a point in life where he no longer tried to conceal his naked wish to dominate everybody and was angry and ugly when things went against him.

As we neared our sixties the cloaks we had wrapped about our essential selves were wearing thin.

Over the weekend, I finally finished reading Fifth Business, by Robertson Davies. The amount of details and characters to keep track of in this novel almost drove me insane, but eventually, I got into it and couldn’t help but admire the amazing mind of this writer. (I also admired his beard. Wow.) I never managed to develop much interest in Jung’s theories in college so I didn’t pick up on the famous Jungian themes in the novel. I think I’m going to take a break though before I read the rest of The Deptford Trilogy.

While reading about Alice Munro recently on Wikipedia, I found out that her and Robertson Davies are considered by some people as being part of the Southern Ontario Gothic genre. How geographically specific! I had no idea such a thing existed… even in the mind of scholars. I guess I should read something by Timothy Findley next.

That’s the thing when you live with an avid anglo reader. You find some precious gems in his bookshelf. I’m ashamed to say that while I read a lot of American and British writers, I wasn’t aware of the writing talents in English Canada until I met my beau. Everybody should get themselves a partner outside of their own culture. Kind of widens your horizons. ;-)

And yes, he did have some Tremblay, Laferrière and Roy on his shelves, even before I met him (but in translation, bien sûr).