A Wodehouse Weekend

A nice lazy Sunday before starting my first 50-hour work week. Tom and I made it to church where we learned about Joseph testing and forgiving his jerk older brothers. Something modern day brothers need to hear I guess. After church, I was up on Queen Anne for a few hours this afternoon at my favorite Tully’s. I started another P.G. Wodehouse book, The Code of the Woosters, while sipping an iced chai. It was pretty hot, so I bounced from chair to chair in an effort to seek as much shade as possible while remaining outside.

I was reminded again today just how superb Wodehouse’s writing is. I would give a lot to be able to write at half his skill. He makes it all seem effortless, though the introduction of the book makes it clear Wodehouse worked hard, very hard, on each book. When asked how he got his creative juices flowing he responded, “Oh, I don’t know. I just sit down at the typewriter and curse a bit.” In addition to the sedentary swearing, he filled notebooks with notes and slaved over each sentence, for he felt, “In a Jeeves story every line has to have entertainment value.” And, in my opinion, Wodehose succeeds. Here are a couple of examples just from the first two chapaters that made me chuckle out loud. A description of a character named Roderick Spode: “About seven feet in height, and swathed in a plaid ulster which made him look about six feet across, he caught the eye and arrested it. It was as if nature had intended to make a gorilla, and had changed its mind at the last moment.” And a classic quote about aunts: “It is no use telling me that there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof.” To paraphrase the introduction, if this doesn’t make you smile, nothing will, and Wodehouse is not for you. I’m definitely looking forward to spending a couple more sunny afternoons imbibing this fine prose.

After getting my fill, I walked down to the Queen Anne bookstore to see if it had Joy in the Morning, the book that is sort of the sequel to The Code of the Woosters. They didn’t have any Wodehouse, but they had The Best of American Erotica: 2004 right where Wodehouse should have been. Oh well. (I didn’t buy it)

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