La Zona Fantasma: Ghosts And Ancient History

Javier Marías at The Believer:

As I write this I suddenly realize that All Souls’ Day, November 1, might have been a more timely date for the publication of this article, but alas, that is one of the (very few) inconveniences of not being a religious man. Life is life, however, and certain truths do not always dawn on us in a timely fashion; they come when they come. And in the end, there is so much more to be pondered in November, the month that Herman Melville always associated with melancholy, as he so succinctly expressed it at the beginning of Moby-Dick, through the voice of Ishmael, his narrator who said that “whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul… I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can,” since the sea was his “substitute for pistol and ball.”

In my case, a few days ago I decided it was high time I clean up my old address book, with its dog-eared oilcloth cover and its haphazard, chaotic content—last names starting with “C” that had long since overflowed into the “E” section because the “C” and “D” pages were entirely filled up with other names, just like “M,” “R,” and so many other sections.

more here.