Sunday, March 6, 2011

Life, Revealed

Three inches of rain has done a lot to dampen the gardening spirit, but things are still plodding along. You can tell the garlic and onions are putting on weight and the seeds I planted last week are quietly sending down roots. My fear now is for the potatoes to rot in the ground, but as it dries out, hopefully I'll find them healthy and hale.

On a non garden note, last week I began and finished Tim O'Brien's The Things they Carried. I had earlier posted that it was a recommendation from a student and one of the first tenants of teaching a literature course is never turn down a child when they ask you to read.

The book caught me off guard. It's something they teach in AP classes here, so I didn't expect it to be raw, exposed and visceral, but it was. I didn't want to go to bed with it having been the last thing I had read, but then realized that now, this was how I was supposed to go to bed, with it weighing as heavily on my mind as it did. It's not a fast or a skimming read like I'm used to. Each word pulls you in a different direction and demands the merit its author intended. I am wiser and humbled by the experience. The symbolism was mild, yet jarring and the thematic strands enduring, yet too often looked over by other works. I'll most likely go purchase a paper copy in addition to my electronic one so I can write in it and trace the elements as I read through it a second, third and fourth time.

If you haven't read it, I highly suggest it. Your experiences with the novel may be vastly different from mine as you may be closer and with more personal connections to the events of the text than I have - NOT that I'm saying any readers venturing upon this are old and I'm the springest chicken in the world, but for me, the Vietnam War has always been one of those mythical wars in a far off place that warrants less than 30 minutes of class lecture at the end of a crammed semester of World History, and even then I struggled in distancing myself from the insufferable authentickty the book injected upon my psyche. It brought a crushing realism to an era swept under parlor rugs, bed skirts and dust jackets. A time that begs to be forgotten by the populace, yet rages in the indispensible truths of the participants.


  1. Gosh, the ground is soaked here too..I'm sure the plants will love it, but it sure is messy to work in. I hope your potatoes aren't affected...

  2. The book sounds like a good read, I'll keep my eye out for it next time I visit the bookstore!

  3. I can't read about war, it keeps me up at night. I think I feel it all too deeply. Sounds like a wonderful novel.