Friday, December 11, 2009

"I've been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library."

I was trying to tell my friend John about reading The Great Gatsby and how the last line of that book was stunning. How it has sat relic in my head for years, but I couldn't grab it for some reason. I could only see myself reading Fitzgerald and listening to Joy Division in my tiny bedroom in Union Furnace, Ohio. I could only feel the sentence.


In my adulthood I have been rereading books a lot. I read with wicked wanderlust as a child and young adult and I know I missed much of the matter because my body and soul had not caught up with my cognition. I was given free reign in the elementary school library at age 7 because I was pushing and pushing and needed to hear the crack of spines and tote heavier books back home. My parents met with the teacher and the librarian and they let me read anything. It made all the difference.

My mother has at times tried to censor me or pretend that I may not think they way I do, but she never one time censored my reading. She let me bite down hard on all of the words even when I was more Nancy Drew than Judy Blume. Even when I could never have understood what the hell love was or why people hurt each other. She just let me look and my whole life has been based on that freedom.

Just take it in and later filter it out.

And then last night as I placed my hand on the Fitzgerald book in my office it came to me like a vision. A man walked right past my eyes and he was wearing a bowler hat and had on a sandwich board and it said:



So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

10 comments:

Amy in Ohio said...

Gorgeous post A - truly

Boy Crazy said...

I love coming here.

ingrid said...

wonderful post. thank you.

Heather said...

Wish you were by my side when I had to restrain myself at a ptc where they told me that my 5yo w/ a 2-300 page a day habit should instead go back to picture books. then my 3yo tells me she is going to be an artist. the 2yo most definitely will join the circus. It's like that for me but more with poetry. I've got 'mind of winter' stuck in my head at the moment.

Headless Mom said...

You are amazing. I wish I had one iota of your creativity.

Schmutzie said...

Whoosh.
I don't know what you just did there, but it made me breath in like the true meaning of inspiration.

Deb said...

He would love this, so much, because he and Hemingway argued about this. I always thought Scott was right--lush is good, trust the mind will distill it, or bring it forward when it's right.

Alix said...

T h a t w a s g o o d
x
(Not that it isn't always (back peddling) just that I haven't been around for a while ;-))

nakedjen said...

It is, no doubt, one of my most favourite combinations of words, finest sentences in literature. I read that book for the first time when I was 10. I think of that closing sentence a lot.

Thank you, for this. For all of it.

Ashley, The Accidental Olympian said...

I love this,

"She let me bite down hard on all of the words even when I was more Nancy Drew than Judy Blume. Even when I could never have understood what the hell love was or why people hurt each other. She just let me look and my whole life has been based on that freedom..."

This is the same approach my mother took with my desire to devour each and every book that came across my path.

When she fought my 6th grade teacher to ensure I was able to read any book of my choosing, INCLUDING Stephen King during Free Read I knew I had someone truly invested in my imagination.

Wonderful post.

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