Sunday, September 15, 2013

between the sheets

This week has been a difficult one. Reading condolences for a dear friend's death on social media was mind blowing, the internet's speed so much faster than the speed of the news being passed through softer, more thoughtful forms of communication.

I retreated to my books; it occurred to me that perhaps my affinity for reading versus listening to music or watching a movie is due to the control that I can exert while participating in the story.  My imaginations paints in the mood and imagery after the words have set the scene.  I can choose the speed of how quickly I absorb each word, whether I am flying over the pages with words jumping at me or rewinding and repeating a phrase until it is absorbed and permeates the soft tissue below my skin.

I was going to read "To Kill a Mockingbird," the first gift Mike ever gave me, and one of the possessions that I will probably carry with me for the rest of my life. But I am not yet ready to confront the ghost resting in his script on the inside of the book. Then I thought, "The Catcher in the Rye," but I'm afraid that I may be tempted to join all of the amateur sleuths who are currently picking at Salinger's bones and trying to rebuild him as Holden, minus a testicle.  Who would have thought that the one testicle theory that was once so popular in explaining Hitler's behavior would reappear in a reclusive author?

I settled on "Pale Fire."  Thinking about the Salinger controversy led me to the Nabokov authorship controversy.  You can tie yourself in knots trying to sleuth that book.  I tie myself in knots, happy knots, just reading it without any theories of authorship.  I'm looking forward to the knots.

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