Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Hint of LJ

It has been a mucky and humid summer, the kind during which you are likely to be wading through your lawn in the morning (at least in terms of water clinging to the grass gone wild) and in which the dogs tend to wait at the edge of the patio until they are bribed out into the dampness, the rain, or the mud. Perhaps there is something in the rain that continues to pile in from the coast that contains a hint of Lake Jackson; the water perhaps is filling up the gutters and soaking into the yard to carry the memories deep into the land upon which I now live.

The ties to childhood were laced tight last night as I reread Winnie the Pooh, which had come free with a reading program (iBook?) that my husband had downloaded. The book was complete with illustrations, same as the book that I'd had on my shelf. Pooh floated up to the bees as a muddy bear rain cloud and snuck tastes of honey that extended down to the sides of the honeypot. I hadn't read it in years and the sentences were thick on my tongue, tasting of an earlier iteration of English. The narrator gently prodded Christopher Robin into the tales of the Hundred Acre Wood and walked all of the animals through their lives in the 'wild.' It is the kind of tale for which the word "lovely" is intended, the kind of word that trails its silken approval over the words like a bow on a basket.

It's not just children's books that are causing me to think that something has taken root in my brain and started to prompt me to change my reading--yesterday I found myself in B&N, in the Fiction & Literature section, reaching for a book on the top shelf and thinking that I was reaching for the stars themselves. The idea of reaching into the firmament, into the foundation of my own speech and thought, was strong. There is something of a different life and perspective that certain books offer that I find myself missing, almost a chemical imbalance, that I'm seeking to set right.

Perhaps it's that in spending so much time writing the novel I've come to have the awful feeling of talking to myself in a closed room. I need to listen to other voices and I need to find my way back to the opened senses that I had the first time I encountered genre literature, the first time I read Tolkein or Anthony or Anderson or Dickson (Yo Ho Hoka!) and give my voice a rest. Or at least a break.

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