9 May 2013
Walked past Charlotte Square this morning to find it in full bloom. And the grass is green, which is unusual — this is the site of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, so (like many beautiful spots in Edinburgh that host events like this) the grass will be trampled by the end of August, and it will take most of the winter to re-seed it again. Edinburgh likes closing roads so much (tram work diversions); why don’t they just put events like this on a side street in a section of town? It would save the grass, which is so beautiful this morning. Also, this square is closed to the public. Sigh. I just want to walk through it barefoot.
I feel like I had a lot to talk about this morning, but now I’m feeling a bit distracted. On my mind: work. Memorizing the score for the show. Timing. Rehearsals. Renting. Moving. Visitors. Dinner. Reading. Books. Writing. Letters. Poems(?!). Sleep. TV. Unwind. I need to just clear my head. Meditation. New friends. Family, in there somewhere. Bloom. Hiking. Maybe I just need to go for a walk in the woods. Magic. Museums. So much to do. Cleaning. How do we fit it all in? Why do I want to do it all?
I watched Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close yesterday even though I really wasn’t at all sure that I should. Luckily, I don’t remember the book vividly in my mind (only the way it made me feel, which was glorious), so I thought I should probably watch it now before re-reading. The movie ended up being very thought-provoking. Not because it did justice to the book (loosely looped around the story-line, engaging in its own right, but nothing like the world we know between those pages), but because it fed a long-forming thought process I’m working on right now about relationships, parenting, being a child, being understood. The variability of how we see the world, how we see each other, how we see ourselves, and how we connect all of these things into relationships. I’ll write about it more soon when I can clear everything else from my head a little. Or, I’ll just leave it — and no doubt it will come bobbing back up to the surface soon.
But now I’m re-reading the book. And now I’m in love all over again.
That is actually a good question: Rory and I had a conversation last weekend about whether or not we re-read books. (Me: yes. Rory: never.) Rory claims to have a great memory, and therefore no need to re-read books. Fair enough, I said, but don’t you ever just want to get back that feeling of a certain book? He thought about it a little. No. This conversation had continued on from the question of why I save books; Rory doesn’t feel any difficulty just letting them go. I save them to re-read them. That became a whole different conversation. I know the argument against re-reading: there is so much in the written world. If you re-read something, aren’t you sacrificing the discovery of something new that could be wonderful? Yes yes, although just as equally the new book you might find could be terrible. Still, why do I re-read? Sometimes to remember what happens, sometimes to be able to talk to someone else about it. Sometimes just to sit in the world again. Sometimes, I re-read a book because I already know what it can offer me, what void it will fill inside me, and I don’t want to go digging around trying to find another book to do that if I need that fulfilment right now, that exact kind of solace. But I keep music, Rory said.
And do you listen to the same songs again and again? I asked. He considered. Yes.
Why do you do that then? I inquired, Why listen to a song you’ve already heard?
To hear something new in it. His answer was almost like thinking aloud, which is a characteristic of the best dialogues, and I think it spoke for both of us. We search for the same reasons (just in different places), returning again and again to the same worlds (even if they are different for each of us, and via different media).