Thanks to all who commented on my post a couple back, for your gentleness, your kindness, your presence.
I’ve been reading and “reading” a lot lately. All fiction. Just finished listening to Almost Moon (“reading”) by the woman who wrote Lovely Bones but I don’t have it in front of me and it is easier to keep typing than to google–how sad is that! Contemporary story about a woman who kills her mother. Perhaps not the best story to read shortly after returning from a week-long vacation with her mother, but I really had no idea what it was about before I popped it in, the first line, however should have been a giveaway “killing my mother was easier than I thought it would be” or some such.
Now I’ve started “reading” Tess of the D’urbervilles on my one hour each way commute which takes me in to the office every day this week. I believe I’ve already read it, but like watching Mrs. Dalloway last week, I think this is a book one should read every decade of ones life. The experience is so different from when I read it as a young co-ed, with very little life experience within me.
But I am also reading (with my eyes and not my ears) Howard’s End, and came across this line that rather struck me, but that I can’t quite locate right now. It reminded me of Anne Lamott’s words about when it seems as though everything is going wrong or starts breaking it, something beautiful is about to be born. It was like that, but not, something about quiet before things change.
I suppose that was more what I was trying to point toward the other day, in my longing to not use words to decipher my own pain. The words had failed me, pitifully, and so I searched about for ways to live without them without really doing so. Oh I do love words, truly I do. The way they sound one upon another is one of my most favorite things. And yet, they are only fun when they are ambiguous or flexible. When they mean only one thing, and rigidly so, they lose their flavor, their resilience, their interest. A table, it seems, is just a table …
or is it? I hope you had a chance to hear this bit about language and gender on NPR this morning. I only got part of it as I was changing to the next disc of Tess as I hurtled over the SkyWay Bridge. In “Shakespeare Had Roses all Wrong” a look at Spanish and German nouns (gender specific nouns, such as ‘bridge’) influences the way people respond to benign words. The story gave me great pause about many things, and about the power with which we are subtley influence–and don’t even know it.
I don’t know, I guess I just wanted to say I’m out here, I’m taking care of myself, my family is fine and we are all “using our words” these days. And I continue to wonder what will be the new beautiful thing that will be born. It may just be a new relationship to words.