The meme works this way: We begin with Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and wander through 6 associations.
To my surprise, I think of Carey Mulligan’s performance of Cathy in the film, which I liked rather better than most people did. I thought it picked up on Ishiguro’s nostalgic longing for a life that was hoped for but never led; a strong emotional repression such as Stevens had in The Remains of the Day.
But my mind leads me to the first time I saw Carey Milligan: In a performance of Bleak House by Dickens. Here she is as Ada Clare.
Of course I’ve got a super-ego hovering above me wanting to make a reference to Herodotus or Thucydides, but my line of association leads me straight back to Never Let Me Go: Another Bleak House indeed!
Bleak House only too obviously leads me to House of the Seven Gables!. Well, it’s late and my word association verve is verklempt.
And I find myself in some surprise thinking of Clark Gable and the first thing I think of is that lovely elegiac film, The Misfits.
I know that I SHOULD have thought of Gone With The Wind, but there’s something that has always enticed me about The Misfits.
And how can one think of misfits, without thinking of that miraculous story, “A Good Man is Hard to Fine” by Flannery O’Connor?
And by a turn of the mental screw, I think of the grandmother, so necessary to the “misfit” in O’Connor’s story. And the Grandmother makes me think immediately of “Sestina” by Elizabeth Bishop: not a book, but a superb poem about the discomforts of an uncertain childhood: the last nine lines are:
But secretly, while the grandmother
busies herself about the stove,
the little moons fall down like tears
from between the pages of the almanac
into the flower bed the child
has carefully placed in the front of the house.
Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove
and the child draws another inscrutable house.
And here’s a picture of a baby Elizabeth Bishop, already the feeling, observing poet to be.
This exercise surprised me: I was surprised that I moved to actresses and actors so frequently and I was surprised that some of the things that popped into my head were less obvious. It’s a fun meme!