Monday, June 21, 2010

"Yes, It's Me Again; And I'm Back"... Chuck Norris will present $5 to those who catch the double meaning

It seems an apology needs to preface this post (well, probably all that follow as well). After having the pleasure of reading entries from Andy, Kristi, and Melissa last week, my random musings of interest will surely be a letdown. And, this is in no way said while wearing a self-deprecating girlfriend, friend, or former student head adornment. I have, instead, merely been rocking my reader’s hat the past few days. As I have indulged in, reread, and stewed over their respective posts, I have been continually impressed with their insights, their wit, and their ability to make something personal matter (and be relatable) to an audience that may seemingly otherwise have little in common with either the author him/herself or with other readers. Beyond the obvious trademarks of correct grammar, logical transitions, and quirky titles, all three are writers, therefore, because they have an ability to inspire imagination among readers, an imagination that allows readers to see themselves as characters in the play that the author has created.

Apologies aside, however, this is exactly what fascinates me about writing. I love that I get a glimpse of a personality, a mindset, a relationship, or a desired persona that may not be accessible, as a result of circumstance or character, in face-to-face contact. I love that I am somewhat forced to “hear” an explanation that might otherwise be interrupted by questions, comments, or “that reminds ME of” tangents that I might be so narcissistically inclined to add to an actual conversation. The written word gives a depth to my perception of others just as it allows my ideas to dance around in a community head of whimsy and intrigue. Readers’ hats are really, really big.

I feel it imperative to point out, however, that by “writing” I do not solely refer to well thought-out blog posts, poems, or books. In fact, as Linda Brown and I were discussing this weekend, these “new glimpses” can be seen even in seemingly innocent or unimportant status updates, photo captions, and wall comments. Yes, I know that Facebook is the mecca of foolishness, inaneness, and the occasional venting of personal matters that no one should ever have to hear about. But, I love that at the same time, Facebook is also a tool that allows me to see just how funny some people really are.

Below I have listed some of my favorite things to follow. Since most of you who read Pillowbook are probably Facebook friends as well, I hope that you have noticed and get a kick out of these too. And by the way, we all “creep” so I refuse to feel bad about knowing the stuff that follows…
*Becky Ballard's status updates – Mom and Leigh have always said that she is one of the most quick-witted people they know; I “see this” in her comments
*Tammy Hall and Becky Ballard’s comments to each other and on others’ pages – one word: hilarious
*Jessica Cossel and Morgan Staley’s photos and comments – I love that I see some of my relationship with my sisters in Jessica and Morgan’s funny remarks to one another
*Lori Sells’ posts – Her lifejacketed kids at the top of the Alpine Hill entertained me for days
*Linda Brown’s pictures – Always interesting and beautifully shot; I also enjoy Linda’s status updates as well as the comments she, Melissa, and Courtney share
*Misty Dubre’s entire page – If you need to know anything about Cumberland County, Misty is your girl
*Stephen Pickering’s profile pictures – Stephen is my dear friend from graduate school; I love seeing his new profile pictures (ranging from Charlie Brown montages to a photo of Larry from Perfect Strangers) and the fact that he can post some renowned history professor-related post right after commenting about his dog, Linus, sitting on his stomach
*Anything related to Isabella – I especially love Leigh Ann’s picture captions:)
Rather than leaving you with a recipe today, I choose a poem for two reasons: 1) I watched Bright Star last week and became interested in John Keats (if you get a chance, watch this movie…I thought it was fantastic); and 2) I’m already done with summer…it’s too damn hot. Written in 1819, "Ode to Autumn" glorifies fall, characterizing as a goddess reflective of simplicity and contentment, even as it closes with a somewhat melancholy foreshadowing of inevitable decline.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

1 comment:

  1. Liza,
    Your writing is never a let-down. True story to illustrate my point: Night before last, I sat at my laptop while talking to brother John on the phone. Pete interrupted me to say, "Doesn't John have the Internet? Do you have to read all those blog entries to him over the phone?" I had been reading passage after passage to John because I knew he would appreciate your train of thought. John and I give each other "assignments"-- book, music, article, podcast recommendations-- and then hound each other ruthlessly until we have completed said assigned reading so that we can then discuss. I've been trying to get him to check out your blog. This time, he said to me, "You know, it must be good, because we've talked about it the last three times we've been on the phone . . . and you're such a snob when it comes to what's interesting, so it must be worthwhile." Not sure what to make of the snob comment, but I know this conversation was a compliment to you and Pillow Book. :-) I just know he would be engaged, entertained, amused, intrigued, and impressed. Your topics of discussion are often our topics of discussion, and he would most certainly "get" your musings on good food, life's idiosyncrasies, and coming "home." I'm trying to get him to join the PB intellectual community but he's definitely a "lurker" not a "joiner" so we'll probably never know he's there-- In fact, he's probably going to kill me when he finds out I've mentioned this.

    I love the Keats poem-- every line so unbelievably full of wonderful imagery. I, too, am wilting in the heat and pining for "turtleneck weather" or at least a cool breeze. I'm glad to hear the good review of Bright Star. I love these period pieces, especially the ones behind the authors themselves. I own and highly recommend Miss Potter (as in Beatrix) and Becoming Jane (as in Austen).

    p.s. If you don't mind, I'm borrowing your second paragraph to use in class next year. I love how you describe your role as the reader (in your really, really big hat)-- it so justifies why we must preserve the written word and the time and energy we dedicate to it. One of my main goals is to convince my students of this, and they are a tough sell, with their instantaneous communication devices and screen addictions. I love to give them snipets from others on this topic, and you've said it so well.

    I've written a book. Sorry.