Monday, July 12, 2010

Craving the Words that Move

Yes, I have a newborn, but no, that doesn't mean that my thirst for the juicy creativity of words evaporates.  I could spend the blessed daylight (and nighttime) hours up with our little one catching up on marathons of Housewives of New York/New Jersey/Orange Beach (Hey, why not Housewives of southern LA?). Ok, I'll admit it, the New York season is my favorite, and you might catch me viewing Bethanny's Getting Married, but I decided to spend more time reading and hit our local, friendly, and yes, "kickin'" as C. Cowboy described it when he picked up my books on reserve, library.  I have a huge list of wanna-reads, and they are often ones I have to request and wait for. I was hoping these would come in pre-baby, but I'll take what I can get. Come on--we have a baby now. I can't just got out and buy $14.99 Barnes and Noble editions. The more I save this way, the more cute baby clothes I can buy. 
A couple of nights ago I began reading Little Bee by Chris Cleave and my parched literary tongue was instantly quenched.  A lover of  flowery and decadent prose (come on--my favorite book is A Tale of Two Cities), I took to Cleave's story from page 1 as his narrator talked me into believing that I'd want to be a British pound coin too.  As I kept reading I found myself wanting to dog-ear pages of quotes I loved and want to record, a habit I find rude for library book renters. If you want to fold pages, get your own copy. But I snuck in just one. Hey, I'm breaking all sorts of rules these day--it's a Momma thing I believe. After finding out that a pack of Pampers Swaddlers didn't have the change-from-yellow-to-green-when-baby-pees stripe on the front, I proceeded to Target, returned an additional pack I had purchased, found the diaper aisle, and ripped open a pack to check for it on the new ones. No stripe--bought Huggies.
Back to our story.  I challenge you to tell me these words don't shake your soul somehow--subtly with a gentle touch or forcefully with rattling power.
Chris Cleave "On the girl's brown legs there were many small white scars. I was thinking, Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived
In a few breaths' time I will speak some sad words to you. But you must hear them the same way we have agreed to see scars now. Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this story-teller is alive. The next thing you know, something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile."

Beautiful. Poetic. Sincere. Raw.  I don't need to say anymore. 
Then I woke up to facebook checking to find my dear friend, English teacher, and department head's status update.  Wave on, sweet language, wave on. And I pray my little one's ears absorb and savor the sounds, the movement, the power of words and that his little soul burns, burns, burns with the passion of the universe.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the...stars…” — Jack Kerouac

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