Daily Archives: February 4, 2006

An Incessant Buzzing

I can’t decide if this thinking belongs on this site or on my work site. I’m thinking I’ll put the more personal thinking here, and the English teacher thinking there and call it even.

I just finished reading Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees. I’m almost at a loss for words.

I have a pretty good imagination and can follow along with the best of them. I can create scenes in my head, I can hear characters’ voices, I can sometimes even see into a character’s inner life, the one the author doesn’t quite reveal. I occasionally play a game with myself where I’ll cast a movie of the book I’m reading and I get to decide who plays the leads and who would be the perfect choice for that side character who is a lot more complex and important than we might give them credit for being. I have learned how to read in a very active and engaged way because I’ve had so much good practice in doing just that.

My point is that, because of all my practice, I’m slightly jaded when it comes to reading. I don’t often get “lost” in books; I’m only rarely struck by the depth or enormity or power of a piece of writing. This book is one of perhaps three I can call to immediate memory that sucked me in and refused to let me go.

I find language completely engrossing when it’s crafted and manipulated in such a way that I actually FEEL, in a deep, visceral way, what a character is feeling, and the writing in this book almost made me gasp at its power. Right around page 238, I was surprised to find tears in my eyes. Actual, real tears. Never before has a book had that kind of effect on me (though Stephen King’s The Shining gave me the creeps for about a week after I finished it).

Monk Kidd’s novel spoke to places within me that I usually keep bundled up, that I don’t allow myself or anyone else regular access to. I could feel Lily’s struggle, because I endured a similar one myself and continue to deal with the consequences of it even now, and the act of reading this book let a few things slip from under the doors I keep locked. I’m currently deep in the act of processing and synthesizing and thinking, both about Lily’s story and my own. It is very gratifying, difficult work.

I found myself in the strange, oxymoronic position of wanting desperately to find out what happens next and dreading the turn of every page because it meant that I was that much closer to the end of a story I didn’t want to end. I know for certain that the after-effects of reading this astounding work will be with me at least for the near future.

It was an unexpected stop on my lifelong path to be whole.

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It’s Just Not RIGHT!

As I sit here writing, it is 44 degrees fahrenheit. It’s also February 4th, people. In New England.

In NORMAL winters, we’d be hunkered down in an effort to keep from turning to pink blocks of ice right about now.

The furnace would be cycling on almost constantly (and I’d be stressing about the gas bill).

There would be frostbite advisories on the news and in the crawl across the Weather Channel.

Notices would be sent home from school telling parents not to allow their children to wait for the bus for more than a few minutes, because more than a few minutes in the negative temperatures would surely result in damage to little noses, lips and earlobes.

Many minivans would be seen idling at bus stops, loaded to near-bursting with schoolchildren, acting as heated shelters while the occupants waited for the bus.

We would hit the garage door button in the morning and wonder whether the door would respond, or if it had frozen itself to the driveway overnight.

We would all be dressed in layers – thick socks, flannel-lined jeans, tee shirts under long sleeves under polarfleece. Getting ready to go out would involve boots and mittens and hats and scarves and plenty of Blistex on lips and the tender underside of noses.

But it’s 44 degrees out right now. Nope – check that – it just climbed to 45. It feels wrong. For as much as I hate winter in general and am loving the mild weather, I can’t help but feel something akin to dread. Will there be another ‘shoe’ to drop? Will we be buried in snow in March? I find the whole phenomenon slightly disarming, disturbing.

I’m thinking the “global warming” people are right.

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Home Again, Home Again!

The Small One is back home, and might I add that we’re all silly-happy about it, though perhaps none more so than he. Though he’s not thrilled about the twice-daily pills, I’m pretty sure the milk or chicken broth I use to lure him into my orbit are brightening his days, and he’s seeming more and more like himself all the time. I have to bring him for a follow-up check next Friday to make sure that everything is flowing just as it should.

Thank you all for your good energy and wishes. I am certain that it helps, and I am grateful.

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