May 7, 2009

Five Things I've Gotten From Literature

Here's something that has the potential of being fun and, I hope, more than your average blog meme.  Traci Gardener came up with it here.  I 'll give it a shot.

1. What piece of literature has stayed with you, even though you haven't read it recently?

The madness of King Lear has always stayed.  I love much of Shakespeare, but the tragedies, of course, have real staying power.  Lear and his vanity and what happens because of it has been with me since I first read it.  The message I get is that the only hope for us, any of us and all of us, is to try to be kind to one another.

2. What character or story has influenced something you've done?

That bit where Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes flushes the toilet paper straight from the roll just to drive his babysitter bonkers?  Ran straight to the bathroom to try it.

3. What character or piece of literature seemed to relate to a recent news story or personal experience?

"The airborne Toxic Event" in Don Dilillo's White Noise stands in for so much these days. It's a brilliant satire on the way the media can sometimes be more of the problem than the solution, as with the recent swine flu scare.

4. What character has made you wonder why he or she said/did something?

I've never understood that tree in The Giving Tree and I don't really believe anyone who says they do.

5. Name something from a work of literature that you (such as a character, setting or quotation that you find beautiful or vivid.

I've always loved this fragment from Raymond Carver:

"And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth. "

Pass it on.  Or leave yours in the comments.

(image cc flickr)