“Buffalo Trace: A Threefold Vibration” by Mary Cappello, James Morrison and Jane Walton— Enchantment and Regret

Cappello, Mary, James Morrison and Jane Walton. “Buffalo Trace: A Threefold Vibration”, Spuyten Duyvil, 2018.

Enchantment and Regret

Amos Lassen

It seemed to be that I was heading into a summer of fiction reading when I was pleasantly surprised to get a copy of “Buffalo Trace” but even more than that is that I saw so much of myself in the text of the three short autobiographical texts. They reinforced my thinking that there is never only one ad that someone somewhere has experience the same (but different) as myself. I returned to grad school with reading this and the accounts we get here are so honest that I found myself having to wipe away tears from my eyes several times. Those who were grad students in the humanities will immediately see so much of themselves in what is written here. I read a lot of memoirs and autobiographies and I have always wondered why intellectual growth is rarely included as part of coming of age. Here we get, and I quote because it is so well said, “the romance of learning and pedagogy merging with an education in Eros.” Here

three wonderful share how the became who they are (Nietzsche—a person “becomes who one is.”). I have, like the three writers here, always felt that “love, self-becoming, and thinking cannot be separated.” Now I could give you a summary of what each of our trio of writers have to say about this but then you would not have to read the book and I think that is such a beautiful book that it cries out to read and handled with care. While this is a book about our three writers, it is also a book about education. It is also a look at a generation; a generation that came of age, came out and discovered themselves in the process. They share with us the mysteries of their lives which also just happen to be the mysteries of our lives and as we share their consciousness, they become part of ours (and we have never met).

Is there a correlation between intellectual and sexual awakenings? Is there an answer to that question? We forget sometimes that we must embrace ourselves with all of our contradictions and limitations. If love is the highest goal in love, are we aware of how to really reach it? I was so reminded of learning how to deconstruct a piece of literature in order to get to its inner meaning and in this love story between three friends, we see their own personal smart, honest, and beautifully written, deconstructions as was favored by themselves and each other. This was how we once lived— amid the craziness and the belief that we could change the world. The book is subtitled “A Threefold Vibration” and I understood this to mean that we would vibrate as we read.

As a former student of the liberal arts and philosophy, these are the kinds of books I love to read. I also love to agree and disagree with some of what I read. I did that here throughout. As I read James Morrison’s contribution, I so identified especially the desire to write about almost everything. There is one statement that I have always agreed with my father about and that is when there is nothing left to learn, it is time to close the coffin. Not only do we see that practically in James Morrison’s piece but also in the writings of Mary Cappello and Jean Walton. I could go on and on but I must lave some of the brilliant surprises to be found here. It is a bit early to think about “My Bests” lists but I have a feeling that this will be among the top ten. I close the book feeling invigorated and hopeful and ever so lucky that I got to read “Buffalo Trace”.

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