Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Today's Menu

Reading: Once the Shore by Paul Yoon

Drinking: Ginger tea (and wanting a strong cup of joe)

Thinking: In the last few months I'd almost become disillusioned by fiction. It had been so long since I'd read something I found astoundingly beautiful. Which is what I want when I read: to be astounded. And then I read the first page of the first story in this book (which I had picked up, second hand, on a whim in order to fulfill a free shipping quota), and felt my world expand in the way I am always, when reading, looking for it to expand. The sentences blew wind through my mind with their beauty. Like this one, from page 1:

At this, she laughed quietly and almost at once grew silent and looked out toward the distant hills and the coast where, long after sunset, the East China Sea lay undulant, its surface of silver reflections folding over one another like the linking of fingers.
I heard Hemingway in that sentence, but also Alistair MacLeod, whose book Island remains one of my all-time favorites. I felt myself fully immersed in a vividly rendered landscape which I have never known (nor imagined). I found its layers of history rendered three-dimensional through voice and flesh and imagery and emotion. And isn't this what I'm after? What I'm always after? Beauty linked with history linked with place linked with heart and emotion? Yes!
Before I go, one more sentence to offer you in the hopes that you will someday read this book, too:

And Bev bathed in the luminous dark of the coast, scrubbing his back and soaking his hair and beard. He stood upright to clean his chest. In his sadness he opened his mouth up toward the metallic stars and waited for one to fall.