Saturday, May 16, 2009

Crushed Kibble

The vet provided Merlin with a puppy kit for large dogs, the only one available at our appointment. The kibble is gargantuan, compared to Merlin's mouth. He's managed to scatter it all over the house, since he scoops up mouthfuls of it and runs around, dropping some on his pile of toys, some behind the chair, some in the kitchen in anticipation of other treats. This morning I crushed piece of it to dust trying to navigate around the sink while looking at Merlin. Within seconds, that piece of kibble had been inhaled by the dog.

It didn't seem surprising at the time; however, just having read Joyce's "The Dead," I was in a mood to see it as a metaphor--an example of the way that some things must be reduced in order to be consumed or recognized. Some stories are able to do this, to crumble enough of your perceptions together with those of the characters to give you and insight or a change of perspective.

It's not an uncommon thought or a particularly insightful realization, more of a reminder of the way that literature can work.

I remember reading stories in school and not having the life experience to understand them and I remember taken some of them in directly, but I don't remember much of what was read, except that we were reading for a purpose, which gives you leave to ignore everything but that purpose. Reading for theme? Pick one (or invent one) and tag as much as possible so that you can write five paragraphs on it later. I've been relearning how to read ever since.

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