The barroom or the drawing room….

You see, there is a way of talking that is low, slow and takes its own good time to draw up to its conclusion. This is a way of speaking, and of writing, that needs the semi and the full colon. It is structured. Precise; yet thoughtful, emerging. It persuades through the weight of the thought preceding. Its slow meter speaks of its own authority. It is Father speaking. Or the Colonel, or some man of letters. He is in his club, leather and thick pile carpet, liveried attendant in silence waiting on him. Or it’s the drawing room after dinner with port and cheese. That sort of thing. This is the world of the classic English novelist. Waugh, I’m thinking.  Well mannered. Well meaning. Well Educated. Precise, if at times a little laboured. Who knows at times maybe even a bit turgid. The classic American novel, on the other hand, is all fast talk and back chat. Some guy, cool as summer breeze, letting it go with some banter, spinning a tale of intrigue and mystery and a love that was lost on a night just like this…. Some guy, breaking through the bar room babble with wit and a steady patter. Faster, snappier, maybe a little brash. and oh so confident. Maybe a charlatan, certainly a charmer with an eye for the ladies and a well turned phrase or two. But whatever, you give him some space and some time, cause boy can that fella talk. John Updike and William Burroughs and Chandler, they are all holding court in some stream of American discourse over a beer or a cocktail or something in between. Maybe Fitzgerald is the bridge between these two. But essentially he is spinning tales at the bar too. With grandiose and beautiful prose, there in his suit in some upmarket joint, with a screwdriver and a tale to spin…. Do you know……. I’ve time for both.

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