Monday, November 23, 2009


I just finished reading Margaret Atwood's Surfacing and listening to the audiobook version of Anne Rice's Christ the Lord Out of Egypt. The one is a haunting tale of a woman's return to the land of the living after years of self-imposed exile after aborting the product of an affair with a married man. The other is a reborn Catholic's imagining of what it may have been like for the young Jesus to discover his own divinity and God's purpose in having him live a human life. Pretty cool stuff, the both of 'em.

As I was reaching the climactic moments in Surfacing while I got paid to sit quietly by myself in semi-darkness and read (I was posted at the doors of the arena to inform patrons who hadn't heard that the concert had been rescheduled to almost two weeks ago; I only had one couple show up on the wrong day), I pulled out my notepad and wrote this:

The lie is that books, that the fictions within them, are Art, are Truth. The truth is that they are small things, trifles. We tell ourselves they teach us something meaningful, that they help us understand the world around us in a deeper way. But the only things we can see in them are the things we already know to be true. When the tone sounds and vibrates through our souls, it is recognition, it is familiarity, that is the hammer striking the bell. What we seek when we read Art, Literature, is not enlightenment, but only validation that we are right to be who we are. Perhaps this is true for those who write books, as well, for if you can read it and recognize yourself and draw comfort from the recognition, then maybe they are comforted that you recognize them as well.

But no; that's only part of it. All things exist simultaneously and each of them is true.

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