Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Seduction is to do and say the most banal thing in the most banal way."

A couple of weeks ago, Maud Newton wrote about a remarkable mid-air romantic entanglement she witnessed while flying back from England. At the time, I was in the middle of yet another re-reading of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time, and though Maud didn't offer much detail, the situation she described--to say nothing of the sort of people whom one imagines might maneuver themselves into such an illicit encounter--was so full of comic potential that I started wondering what Powell might have made of it. When I found myself standing in the kitchen unable to follow a recipe because I was busy constructing Powellian sentences in my head, I decided that I had to take a crack at writing the scene as I imagined Powell might have done.

The resulting Powell pastiche is up at Maud's blog now. I hope Powell fans will enjoy it, though I warn them in advance that my hold on Powell's cadences and sensibility slips now and then, giving way to a sub-Wodehousian jokiness. I fear that Powell himself might be offended and decide to haunt me--though what form would that haunting take? Surely he would do little more than sit in a chair, observing, asking the occasional question; maybe he'd occasionally disarrange my books?

I took the headline of this post from Powell's A Writer's Notebook, which is a trove of apothegms and insights. Below are a couple that I wish I'd been able to fit into the story of the inflight romance:
The nearest some women get to being faithful to their husbands is being disagreeable to their lovers.

People usually do what they want.
And when what they want is to join the mile-high club, really, who is a fellow passenger to deny them that pleasure?

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