|Anna and Marilynne, 2012|
First, the morning pace here. It is special, and somehow even more enticing in town than out. It sweeps you away, but in a way opposite to what one might imagine when thinking of being swept away. It does so with its slowness rather than its speed.
Today this pace reminds me of a bit of Thoreau Anna Quindlen referenced in her latest book.
It is a great art to saunter.
Henry David Thoreau
Indeed it is. I'm going to try and hold on to these words.
I'm also swept away by the mood created by the author I am reading. It filters the way I see all that is around me, even when I am not reading.
I've just finished Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson and am beginning Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, a title for some reason I cannot stop transposing, by Anna Quindlen. I don't often read memoirs, but found this one displayed on the front table in the library and decided to do something different.
Beginning Anna Quindlen's memoir is like lounging on a sofa with a good girlfriend, chatting, and sharing a bottle of wine. Finishing Housekeeping, even though it was my second reading, was like being lost in a haunting dreamscape, one that demanded empathy for situations far from my own reality, and prompted me to see similarities between the characters and myself where at first it seemed there were none.
When I read Anna Quindlen's introductory words after being immersed in Marilynne Robinson's world, the shift is so abrupt it is almost disorienting, but I don't mind change that creates such feelings of twist and turn in life. They deliver me from the dull and unimaginative.
I'm enjoying my time with Anna while feeling somewhat nostalgic for Marilynne's darker landscape and characters. I do believe I might be more of a haunting dreamscape type of reader, but who wants to do the same thing all of the time? I can't even eat the same breakfast for more than a couple of days in a row.
Then there is the matter of my mother’s abandonment of me. Again, this is the common experience. They walk ahead of us, and walk too fast, and forget us, they are so lost in thoughts of their own, and soon or late they disappear. The only mystery is that we expect it to be otherwise.
It’s odd when I think of the arc of my life, from child to young woman to aging adult. First I was who I was. Then I didn’t know who I was. Then I invented someone, and became her. Then I began to like what I’d invented. And finally I was what I was again.