In The Beginning
My sister and my mom often tease me about the literature, especially poetry, I enjoy reading. They are very literal individuals and get frustrated when I attempt to list reasons to begin reading poetry. When I say, “Choose an image from the poem,” I am met with, “Which image? I don’t get the poem. Why do I have to choose an image?” So we do not get very far in our fostering-love-for-poetry lessons. Although I tease my mom and sister about their lack of love for abstract and obscure poetry and prose, I often find myself hurrying past form, meaning, metaphors, and imagery in order to be finished with my own reading. Lately I have needed a reminder of why I love reading. My aunt happens to be quite well-read. When I was growing up, she made certain to quiz me on the books I was reading in school and introduced me to books like A Confederacy of Dunces and plays such as Romeo and Juliet. We didn’t just read together, she wanted to talk about them, and we still make references to books that we have read as if they are great inside jokes. Years after she helped to develop a love for reading in me, my aunt is developing a love for reading in my cousin. She is homeschooling this year and my aunt is choosing to assign books which go along with their history lessons. Naturally, I asked for the list and am reading along. This is spawned from pure laziness—I get to discover and re-discover classics without doing research or spending time deciding which books to read. Right now my cousin and aunt are studying colonial history, and so we are reading Elizabeth George Spear’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond
. I’m having a difficult time putting it down! My point is not that we should burn our Boethius, Sidney, or Sartre books on literary criticism (insert sarcastic tone here) because I know that all of you are reading these right now. I am merely pointing out that sometimes, it is good to read the books that we first fell in love with and which originally fostered our love for learning. Try it, and when the next Ruminate
arrives in your mailbox, I promise that you will have a greater understanding and appreciation for the gorgeous writings included.
Whitney Hale serves as a reader for Ruminate from 2007-20010. She received her BA in English from Liberty University and is currently working for the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. She writes in her free time for a few organizations and is a strong believer in the reconciliation of people from all places, races, and backgrounds. She is still madly in love with her high school sweetheart whom she married at the ripe old age of 19 and they have two toddler boys who are 19 months apart.
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Also in The Waking
That day, her screaming was so bad, I thought about it. About what metal and concrete and the slow-fast glide into a solid sheet of water would feel like. How nice it would be if everything just got a little bit quiet.
I don’t have a God’s eye view of my son. When he finally falls to sleep, exhausted, puffy-eyed, after crying for forty minutes straight on his second night of sleep-training, I am still on edge, worried that he’ll wake up, that he’ll hate me in the morning.
Like many writers, she wondered if she shouldn’t give up. Why were we squandering time and money on art that few, if any, would read? The answer, as always, is because we have to.