Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The power and the value of literature

One day you might be 37 years old, sitting in a Laundromat and remember a scene from a book, a stanza from a poem, a line from a play that will grab you by the throat, whisper in your ear, massage your shoulders and it will make you feel more alive than you have ever felt- connected and strong and devastated and engaged with everything in a way that takes your breath away- at the exact same moment everyone else at the Laundromat is watching their towels spin in the dryer. Or checking their Twitter accounts.



You of all people understand that you read great literature, not because it’s going to be on the test, or that your intimate knowledge of A Tale of Two Cities is going to get you into a great college. You understand that your intimacy with and the comfort and excitement you take in great literature is going to be on the invisible test you take when you fall in love, choose a job, have a child, take risks, fail, succeed: live.



This is a short excerpt from a gorgeous glorious piece called "Preaching to the Choir" on the value of fiction and writing by Arlaina Tibensky.  Her novel AND THEN THINGS FALL APART (repped by the Amazing Suzie Townsend) is on sale now.

14 comments:

jan said...

So true! I remember a scene from "Anne of Green Gables". Anne was surprised and relieved when she stayed overnight at a friend's house and the girl's mother kept a supply of new toothbrushes just for forgetful overnight guests. To this day, I make sure I have a supply, too--just in case someone decides to spend the night. Silly??

Charley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yvonne Osborne said...

Bravo! That's the way I feel about all good books and there are thousands and thousands, and then there are the poems that make you feel the way The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock does: human and satisfied to be.

As I told Ms.Tibensky,I wish I would've heard that speech when I was in high school.

Jessa Russo (Stadtler) said...

Wow! That just made me teary-eyed!

THIS especially:

"...going to be on the invisible test you take when you fall in love, choose a job, have a child, take risks, fail, succeed: live."

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

Someday I might be 37 years old, but only for another 13 days. Then I'll have to be 38 for a while. I love this anyway. And it also comes in handy if you ever find yourself on Jeopardy! A good story will stay with you forever.

E. Arroyo said...

So true. It reminds me of something that Peter Jackson said to one of his actors...Pain is temporary, film is forever. something like that. =)

Anita said...

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.
--Reacher

(makes me smile)

ultra-sounds.org said...

Oh thank you for this!!! It made me cry with its eloquence. It's what I know, but I've not known how to say.

I love this blog.

Samantha

Laurel said...

THIS. This is so right and true. My best days are the ones where my earworm is a John Donne poem, or Sonnet 29, or a snippet of prose from a Pat Conroy novel. Or thinking about the tumbling mudballs trying to show their shine in THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD. Lucy trying to wake the trees.

Even when my days feel like dusty rhinestones, the words in my head can shine like diamonds and rubies from the mines of Moria.

Thanks for sharing this.

Bonnee Crawford said...

Just that excerpt has me wanting more. That was beautiful.

Brent Stratford said...

I love the excerpt. The line my father always used when I was "teach them out of the best books." What you read, to some extent, influences what you think of the world. What we write solidifies what we think. That is why it is so important to choose good books and even more important to make sure you are true to yourself when writing.

Sally Spratt said...

Love this excerpt. Thank goodness I read to my children, and they in turn love good books. Thanks for sharing!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing that.

Afsaneh said...

Speaks to the heart certainly. I only hope that I won't at some advanced age think of a scene from a book or a character and regret that I couldn't do something that happened in that book.
I hope I'll look back with a fond and glad remembrance.