For the next 12 months I’ll be writing a monthly column for The Wrath-Bearing Tree online journal. My first post, on Elliot Ackerman’s The Fifth Act and Jamal Jan Kochai’s The Haunting of Haji Hotak is already up and can be read here:
Peter Molin’s “Strike Through the Mask!”
The name of my column is “Strike Through the Mask!” It’s a quote from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. The full passage, spoken by Ahab, goes:
Hark ye yet again—the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event—in the living act, the undoubted deed—there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the moldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ’tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me. For could the sun do that, then could I do the other; since there is ever a sort of fair play herein, jealousy presiding over all creations. But not my master, man, is even that fair play. Who’s over me? Truth hath no confines.
Strike Through the Mask! will mostly be book reviews, like Time Now, but not entirely so, so stay tuned. For Time Now, I’ve limited myself to fiction, poetry, art, music, and theater, but for The Wrath-Bearing Tree I am expanding my range to include non-fiction, memoir, and journalism.
While I’m writing Strike Through the Mask! Time Now will be more-or-less in abeyance. In a year’s time, I’ll regroup and decide if more Time Now posts are in order.
Thank you for reading Time Now over the years. It’s been a rich, rewarding ride.