Friday, July 13, 2012
bedecked with text
I know because this week I've been reading not one but TWO works of contemporary adult fiction. I mean actually reading my way through them, not just carrying a book to the pool and in the car and to the beach but reading the same second chapter over and over again without making progress (this was the fate of both Loving Frank last year and The Elegance of the Hedgehog the year before). I seem to be able suddenly to give myself up to a book like I used to, in the days when I lived mainly to get back to any of the several books I was reading at any given time.
[Around about Monday Daisy asked, "What are you reading now, Mommy?" "Upstairs I'm reading An American Wife and downstairs I'm reading Room." "Good for you!" she exclaimed, as though I'd happened upon a uncommon but to-be-recommended practice. "I do that but my friends don't get it." Little does she know that I invented that practice, not she, but that was back when.....when I was 13 too. : )]
This is what else I have had the wide-open pleasure to encounter this week, in the random sort of order which is appropriate to the season:
*The Silver Chair, aloud to Duncan (C.S. Lewis)
*What Color is Your Smoothie? (Britt Allen Brandon; goes with my new hyperpowered blender)
*my own poems and those of my fabulous new critique group
*An American Wife (Curtis Sittenfeld; having the slightly creepy effect of making me like Dubya)
*Room (Emma Donoghue; finished on Tuesday night and best thing I have read since I can remember)
*IKEA, Crate & Barrel and other online furniture catalogs with my "New House Notebook" alongside
*Chapter 3 of my other critique partner's entertaining middle grade novel
*online documents regarding some shady dealings between our County Executive and our school system on the conversion of an organic farm occupying school land to privately owned soccer fields
*Narrative Magazine (thinking of entering poetry contest)
*Time magazine articles from March and April on The Next 10 Big Ideas and the 100 Most Influential People in the World
*and finally, this poem, which had a similar effect on me to last week's offering. Its power links to that poem, to Room, and to the process of saying a long goodbye to rooms full of the evidence of younger childhoods. (That said, only last week Duncan and his friends bedecked themselves with marker lipstick and eyeshadow, dug out wigs and sparkly handbags and videoed themselves acting out a visiting-Santa-at-the-mall skit. Brave rainbow hearts indeed.) My dad forwarded it to me.
Bedecked // Victoria Redel (apologies; the formatting is not right, I'm sure)
Tell me it’s wrong the scarlet nails my son sports or the toy
store rings he clusters four jewels to each finger.
He’s bedecked. I see the other mothers looking at the star
choker, the rhinestone strand he fastens over a sock.
Sometimes I help him find sparkle clip-ons when he says
sticker earrings look too fake.
Tell me I should teach him it’s wrong to love the glitter that a
boy’s only a boy who’d love a truck with a remote that revs,
battery slamming into corners or Hot Wheels loop-de-looping
off tracks into the tub.
Then tell me it’s fine—really—maybe even a good thing—a boy
who’s got some girl to him,
and I’m right for the days he wears a pink shirt on the seesaw in
Tell me what you need to tell me but keep far away from my son
who still loves a beautiful thing not for what it means—
this way or that—but for the way facets set off prisms and
prisms spin up everywhere
and from his own jeweled body he’s cast rainbows—made every
shining true color.
Now try to tell me—man or woman—your heart was ever once
Among other places, this poem is published in an anthology called 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day, edited by Billy Collins. May we be so brave as he. The round-up today is with Jone at Check It Out.