Saturday, September 08, 2007

Judy Blume Is Next

Although this news is not exclusive to Fosco Lives! (like our recent report of the death of Roberto "Len" Butler), we are sorry to note the passing of author Madeleine L'Engle. You can read the NYTimes obit.

Fosco recalls being thrilled by Ms. L'Engle's fiction, especially A Wrinkle in Time, as a seventh-grader. Fosco's English teacher Mrs. Eycleshymer (seriously!) assigned all of the L'Engle books to him for extra credit reading (yes, Young Fosco was just that obnoxious). It was even more thrilling when, a year or so later, Mrs. Eycleshymer and Young Fosco were able to attend a reading by Ms. L'Engle at a nearby community college. Young Fosco was selected by Mrs. Eycleshymer to be allowed publicly to ask Ms. L'Engle a question.

Young Fosco asked: "Which of your books is your favorite and why?"

Madeleine L'Engle answered: "You may as well ask me which of my children is my favorite."

To this day, Fosco considers this answer to be bullshit. Parents obviously have favorite children; there's no reason that authors shouldn't have favorite works. Fosco certainly knows which of his creative or academic endeavors he likes best. The nice thing about choosing the favorite of your textual progeny is that the other books don't get jealous and get pregnant to try to get your attention. Actually, come to think of it, Fosco still slightly resents her for that answer.

I would love to be able to say that Ms. L'Engle's books were important to the development of Young Fosco. Or that they somehow made Fosco who he is today. To tell the truth, Adult Fosco doesn't remember anything about any of her books. Was there time travel? That sounds about right. Precocious kids? Signs point to yes. Talking cartoon bats? Sure. Why not.

He does remember a diagram of a tesseract in one of the novels that completely blew his mind. There was this whole thing about trying to imagine the two-dimensional diagram in four dimensions. Fosco can honestly say that this was the last time he thought math was cool.

Actually, if you want to see a really nifty animated version of a tesseract, please check this out. But even so, math still isn't fun. Math: it's never fun. Oh, and it's completely useless.


kungfuramone said...

A compelling point! I'm fairly certain that tesseracts are the only cool thing about math. Oh, wait, mobius strips are cool too. But that's it.

FOSCO said...

Yes! Mobius strips kinda rock--partly because literary theorists use them as metaphors a lot.