Thursday, September 14, 2006

Books are alive

I was riding in the elevator at the university with a stranger the other day. She seemed about the age of most graduate students, mid twenties, perhaps. She wore a bright long scarf over her hair and had dark skin. Perhaps Indian, I thought. She had those eyes, honest and sincere, as though she were looking into me. And she kept looking into me, so I smiled.

She said, "You teach literature, don't you?" I said I did, and she asked if I liked doing that. I said I did like it very much, that literature teaches us the meaning of the world. She smiled radiantly and said, "It teaches us the meaning of LIFE."

We who love literature know its power to teach and to change. You can still give this gift to yourself. Remember how you loved to read and write when you were young, and embrace it all again in newness and wonder. It's still good. Books are alive.

1 comment:

Erin said...

I greatly enjoyed these two short entries! I love those unexpected moments of connection and understanding in life (with a person, a poem, a quote). It seems that they always come just when we need them most!

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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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