Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Now is the time for Copperfield

Lately, I have been reading David Copperfield as part of my nighttime routine. My paperback copy of Dickens' illustrious work was found collecting dust one summer in a second-hand book shop at Winnipeg Beach. I was inspired to my $2.00 purchase by some vague feeling that it was virtuous to read the classics (or, at least, have them on your bookshelf). So, after 6 months or so of allowing the book to collect dust in my possession, I picked it up and actually started to read.

Though I've read Dickens before, it has always been of the shorter Christmas-themed type, so Copperfield's complexity came as a bit of a shock. With a dictionary within reach, I struggled to make sense of the unfamiliar language, reading chapter after chapter, until one day, after finishing the chapter XII, I came to a realization. David was off to seek his aunt, whom he had never met, out of desperate times that were a result of many hardships in his young life, and I didn't care. Not at all! He could get there, or not, and it would make no difference to me. This orphaned and abused boy had just been robbed, and was off on a long journey on foot, and I didn't have any interest in reading the next chapter. So I didn't.

Fast forward a year or so. Nik is born, and I am reading every baby care book and website I can find. His sleep problems begin, and that triggers another reading binge, starting with sleep solution books, and branching off into basic parenting philosophies. I am starting to make myself crazy with all this research. Then my sister lends me a book by Billie Letts, out of the blue, Where the Heart Is. It is a breeze to read, and I am done it within the week. Now, I have the fiction bug. I pick up A Wizard of Earthsea, one of Andrew's books on the shelf downstairs. More difficult, but thin, and it only takes me a few weeks to get through. Upon completing both books, I feel a sense of loss. I have really begun to look forward to my before-bed chapter, in the quiet of the evening, tucked into bed. The books just aren't lasting long enough.

And then I remember Copperfield. I remember how I felt it would never end, and how a month of reading it barely made a dent in the book. I realize that if I am looking for a book that will last, I need to look no further. So, I pull it off of the shelf, and pick up where I left off, at Chapter XIII. Soon I meet Betsey Trotwood and Mr. Dick, and watch Janet chasing the donkeys off of the lawn, and David is put to bed under Mr. Dick's sound advice, and I am hooked.

Now is the time in my life to read David Copperfield. Now is the time in my life where reading a chapter of such a long and formally-written book is a respite and not a chore. My intellect is challenged, and my need for quiet and still and uninterruption is met. Surprisingly, the book that I gave up on over a year ago is my sanctuary today. A good lesson to extrapolate, I think.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The beginning of swirls and swings

When deciding to begin a blog, for me the obvious question was, "Why? Why sign up? Why have a blog at all?" When it came time to title my blog, I realized that I needed an answer.

I thought of the reasons why people might write, and tried on some potential names. "My Soapbox"? No, I'm not really here to make speeches. I considered, "Breathings of my heart" (inspired by Wordsworth), but I decided it was too sentimental, and besides, it was already taken.

Then, I found these words by James Michener:

"I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions."

That thought resonated with me. I realized that I love using words. That is why it is so hard for me to wait my turn in conversation. That is why my message board posts are twice as long as the average user's. That is why I use phrases like 'canter of speech' and 'bone of contention'.

Words liberate me to say exactly what I am thinking; exactly what I feel. They marry freedom of choice with freedom of expression. When used effectively, words have power to move a reader to tears or action, to change a mind, or change a heart.

So, why start a blog? To play with words. To form them into sentences and paragraphs just to see how they sound together. To express myself; to tell the story of my experience. In short, to write out of the love of the swirl and swing of words.
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