10 October 2013
My sister has gone away for two days for a retreat. Last night she snuggled close to me, which was not unusual, yet especially welcome at that moment. This is the first time that she will be away from home and out of the city by herself for more than a day, and I think a part of her is…wary of the unknown, I guess? Not scared, but–perhaps a little bit like a person who has come out of Plato’s Cave.
I said my goodbyes this morning, while having breakfast. I must admit–I am terrible at it. I never know what to say, because the act of leaving always makes me ache. Ah, but she’ll be back, she’ll be back.
I got an e-mail that asks: What brings you joy? Below is an old list.
THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY (2011)
letters from friends
singing in the car
surprises (the good kind, of course)
when people give me books
when people say they’ve missed me
I think it’s time for me to make a new one.
Things that caught my eye today:
• Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker. Paul Chowder is back.
• 30 Awesome Book Dedications. My favourite is the one written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry for The Little Prince:
I ask the indulgence of the children who may read this book for dedicating it to a grown-up. I have a serious reason: he is the best friend I have in the world. I have another reason: this grown-up understands everything, even books about children. I have a third reason: he lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs cheering up. If all these reasons are not enough, I will dedicate the book to the child from whom this grown-up grew. All grown-ups were once children– although few of them remember it. And so I correct my dedication:
To Leon Werth
When he was a little boy
This one, too, by C.S. Lewis for The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe:
TO LUCY BARFIELD
My dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be
your affectionate Godfather,
C. S. LEWIS
• Art as Therapy. A project by one of my favourite writers, Alain de Botton, and John Armstrong. They have a book out by the same name. The website, meanwhile, lets you explore art as a cure for love, self, work, politics, anxiety, and free time. Through a series of clicks, I got here:
Art as therapy for work: You have to be tough to make it
“…[the] Venetian glass doesn’t apologise for its weakness. It admits its delicacy; it is confident enough to demand careful treatment; it makes the world understand it could easily be damaged.
It’s not fragile because of a deficiency, or by mistake. It’s not as if its maker was trying to make it tough and hardy and then – stupidly – ended up with something a child could snap, or that would be shattered by clumsy mishandling. It is fragile and easily harmed as the consequence of its search for transparency and refinement and its desire to welcome sunlight and candle light into its depths. Glass can achieve wonderful effects but the necessary price is fragility.”
A book that I randomly pulled from my shelf:
The fragility of the flower
– William Carlos Williams, The rose is obsolete, from Spring and All