Thursday, March 25, 2010

Friends in Words

A Green Flower
Originally uploaded by misscaroliner
Beautiful quotes from Michael Ondaatje followed by my comments:

"Read him slowly, dear girl, you must read Kipling slowly, watch carefully where the commas fall so you can discover the natural pauses. He is a writer who used pen and ink. He looked up from the page a lot, I believe, stared through his window and listened to birds, as most writers who are alone do. Some do not know the names of birds, though he did. Your eye is too quick and North American. Think about the speed of his pen. What an appalling, barnacled old first paragraph it is otherwise."

I so often try to think of the manner in which a book was authored so I am better able to capture the spirit of the story-telling. We get so caught up in the transactions of life, the the calcification of stories sit as rock in our porous minds instead of trickling into our little grey cells and transfer to our heart. This quote explains that consideration so perfectly...

"A man not of your own blood can break upon your emotions more than someone of your own blood. As if falling into the arms of a stranger you discover the mirror of your choice."

Just...beautifully stated, oft' unspoken truth.

"To Hana the wild gardens were like further rooms. She worked along the edges of them aware always of unexploded mines. In one soil-rich area beside the house she began to garden with a furious passion that could come only to someone who had grown up in a city. In spite of the burned earth, in spite of the lack of water. Someday there would be a bower of limes, rooms of green light."

It is so easy for any kind of beauty, natural or unnatural, to give us comfort and in the case above, a sense of home - an extension of rooms. The supposed convenience of "brining the outside in" which is such a popular subject in home magazines these days is just a simplified medicine made for this innate longing to edge outside of our abode and claim the outside as our own, for all of its seduction of color and the cleanness of dirt.

"The staircase had lost its lower steps during the fire that was set before the soldiers left. She had gone into the library, removed twenty books and nailed them to the floor and then onto each other, in this way rebuilding the two lowest steps."

I am there! Are you? Tragedy breeds even the smallest of compensatory acts.

1 comment:

  1. Michael's first paragraph is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Immediately, I picked up my favorite Kipling, and began again. More slowly.