Thursday, December 30, 2010

Old lies

I've been behaving badly, staying up until 3am reading books, getting up in the morning and finishing books, reading books at all my meals, reading in dim light, reading until my eyes go all blurry. But I can't help it! They are so delicious. Though today or last night I caught, finally, the passage that I had wondered about for years, since the mid-90s. I had been involved with a boy who was very dramatic and wrote beautifully (both in terms of his composition and his handwriting--dangerous traits, I came to realize too late) and had terrible posture and treated women badly. In one of his dramatic letters from his first ever trip abroad, he wrote about the mountains, and about how Annie Dillard said that you could throw your anger at a mountain and it would not throw it back. I see the passage now, and he paraphrased it horribly (she wasn't talking about anger) and completely skewed my idea of her writing back when I was all too impressionable. The funny thing is that I can see all my youth's folly now, but I'm not that much further along in current folly. At least all of my citations are bibliographically correct, and with the proper pagination. I don't like to paraphrase and only do it when I have to (which is a lot) and always worry that I got it wrong.

Then again, I suppose we are all entitled to our own misreadings and misunderstandings. Better to think for ourselves than not.

3 comments:

  1. oh, god, i hate to say this but i own five of the eight titles i can read in your stack....

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  2. why hate to say that? you know that you influence my reading habits, right? i was dragging them home from the library, thinking about how you can know a person by her friends. and it must be how you can know a person by her books, too.

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  3. it just seems so much better to borrow the books from the public library than to own them. but by buying them i did pay the writer...

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