In my recent readings I have been subliminally drawn to those whose prose is somewhat poetic. Some are tersely descriptive, others elaborately so. It is like playing compact Scrabble, trying to maximize space usage- to put meaning into space.
While I am in the midst of two other books as previously noted, I stumbled across “greasewood creek” by Pamela Steele. A novella by length, it met one of my qualifications for reading: I liked the first line. It opens with “The air still holds the shape of the house.” The book is apparently about the disintegration of a family in Eastern Oregon, but not having started it, this is hearsay. It is apparently a debut novel for Ms. Steele, who has an MFA in Poetry; had a poetry collection (“Paper Bird”) nominated for an Oregon Book Award in 2008; and otherwise teaches at a community college in Oregon.
The other books I am reading also provided some interesting lines today. Reflecting on illness in “Learning To Pray In the Age of Technique”, Goncalo M. Tavares writes “Nevertheless, the substance in question was- deep down- the same: illness kills by using the same cells that contained all one’s wishes, decisions, and actions of the past: it’s all the same matter but organized differently, now carrying a negative charge.”
I watch the series that the Charlie Rose PBS TV show has on the brain. It is fascinating. The scientists describe how a lesion has effected the right side of the brain (I believe the cortex, but my memory and anatomy is likely off). The result is that if they ask the affected person stand in the square facing Milan’s Duomo and to describe the stores on the right and left side of the square, the person is incapable of describing those on the left side. The same person is then asked to stand at the Duomo facing the square and to describe the stores on the right and on the left. Now the person can describe those on the right, but not on the left. In each case the person’s eyes are fine. Apparently, the brain “subconsciously” absorbs all the information, but a neurological problem prevents conscious recognition. The subconscious is a massive harddrive, from which the conscious may if capable draw. It made be wonder about those with mental disabilities. Beyond the neurological issue, maybe they are seeing a reality that we don’t see. A scary thought, but I believe there is a purpose to everything in science and nothing should be discounted. As I noted in an earlier post, deep cartography.
On a more positive note, the main character in Paul Coelho’s novel, “Aleph” is trying to break out of a passive, self-contained life. As Mark Zuckerburg says, you must break a few things.
Those in search of themselves or God might appreciate: “Where is the pleasure in looking for God outside of people?”
It may also resonate with lawyers, for another reason. Lawyers in the U.S. are adversarial and are trained to address worst case situations. If you ask a lawyer to look at a glass half empty, they are as likely to tell you it is completely empty, as well as to tell you it is half full or half empy. No This is an exaggeration, but no one comes to lawyers with good news, so in their professional life they often do not see or look for the better angels in people. Many lawyers hate the profession for this reason and society is not better for it. Being a lawyer, it would be nice if we trained lawyers differently- although in their defense, clients are catalysts.