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Friday, October 28, 2005

All Gold Canyon

The Force has been reading short stories lately about the old west. The reason I’m sure is subliminal, but my conscious mind says it is mostly disenchantment with the current government dependence mindset of so many Americans. Here is an excerpt from Jack London’s All Gold Canyon wherein a miner cannot see an assailant behind him, but knows he is there:

He did not spring up nor look around. He did not move. He was considering the nature of the premonition he had received, trying to locate the source of the mysterious force that had warned him, striving to sense the imperative presence of the unseen thing that threatened him.

There is an aura of things hostile, made manifest by messengers too refined for the senses to know; and this aura he felt, but knew not how he felt it. His was the feeling as when a cloud passes over the sun. It seemed that between him and life had passed something dark and smothering and menacing; a gloom, as it were, that swallowed up life and made for death--his death.

This is a powerful story and rarely do we see words crafted so well, especially when the subject is something indefinable and other-worldly.

Jack London is a fascinating story in himself. They say he was part socialist and part rugged individualist, but a great writer nonetheless. He wrote in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century. My thinking is that people at that time were forming their opinions about what socialism was. Writers like Jack were more concerned about the excesses of capitalism than in handouts. Jack London probably would be shocked to find out what socialism is today. If he saw the sit-on-yer-duff welfare amidst apparent plenty plus idle people killing themselves from obesity he’d declare an end to socialist objectives. And then maybe take a few of the helpless souls on a long wilderness hike to toughen them up.

Jack London can be very good reading indeed. I read another short story of his a few months ago called To Build A Fire. You’ll find it chilling to say the least. Find these stories or get yourself a collection of Jack London short stories. You will have a better sense of the well-written word, and an appreciation of the lost art of the short story.

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