Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jane Who?

I picked up this delightful little book. It's called Overheard at the Bookstore. And that's all it was, just a little thing with a quote on each page of things people have said while browsing through shelves of books. As much as I love books, watching people is just about as much fun. But watching people with books combines the best of two worlds.

Here are some of the better quotes:
  • You'll never finish that here--why don't you just buy it?
  • I think I could probably write this book.
  • Do you have anything for dummies?
  • I don't know the title or author, but the book's purple.
  • It doesn't make any sense--it's called modernism.
  • This was such a good movie.
  • You definitely don't have it, or you just can't find it?
  • I'm afraid I have to disagree with the reviewers.
  • These are the two that I'm going to buy, and these are the twenty I'm not.

I laughed because many of these I've heard myself. Sadly a few of them were spoken by my mother. So I was reading through them out loud when my parents came over to visit my library. I was already laughing when I read to them my all time favorite--

  • Should I buy a Jane Austen or a Stephen King?

I don't know--somehow that one just hits me funny.

"Wait a minute," mom said. "Now what did they write?" My jaw dropped, and I am still greatly distraught every time I think of it. Don't get me wrong. I love my mom, and she is a very intelligent woman. We just don't read the same things. I directed her to my bookshelf. Ironically Jane Austen and Stephen King were sitting next to each other. (It's the one shelf I haven't alphabetized yet.) And though she was very attentive through my emergency literary lesson, I suddenly feel as though there is this great chasm between myself and my parents that can't quite be bridged.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Alphabet soup

I found a quote that I really liked.

"Interpreting modern art is like trying to find a plot in alphabet soup."

Okay, so I really like modern art. It fascinates me, and it bugs me to death. It seems like a style of art that would be easy. See I like art, but painting is time consuming. To me, modern art is like instant expression. Splash some paint on a canvas, give it a title, convince an audience that it has a meaning, and there you have it--Modern art. Accomplishment without effort. Some of you who read this would take offence if I said, forget the years of study. Bang a few notes on a piano. Make it loud and disjointed, and call it 20th century. Yeah, I get that there's more to it that that. So even if some modern art looks like something my 4 year old niece could do, it just doesn't work that way. I've been playing around with paint for a long time. Realistic art takes time, but is doable. Impressionistic I find easier but takes more initial thought. Expression is just plain fun. Abstract? I can't do it. But I'm determined, and will probably waste considerable amounts of paint and canvas in the effort. If I ever do make something I like, I'll be sure to post about it and include a picture.

For now, I suppose I'll stick to alphabet soup. I like to make words and sentences. Who doesn't? Has anyone else ever tried to write a story? My soup got cold.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Contentment On a Moonlit Night

I watched the lunar eclipse tonight. It brought back memories. The first time I ever saw an eclipse of the moon, I was in 4th grade. I was living in Africa that year. It's actually one of my strongest memories. We and about 5 other families set up lounge chairs in the yard and watched the eclipse, the entire thing from start to finish. I remember as a child not daring to look away from the sky for a second for fear I'd miss it.

Africa was a different world. There wasn't a lot to do. We didn't have electricity let alone TV. Even then, I loved to read, but with no libraries, you can only get so much from reading the same books over and over. Creativity had a different meaning back then, and my brother and I were masters at it. Watching the eclipse was one of the biggest events for us that year. There we sat, mesmerized, all facing the same direction. The Africans would walk by, look at us, look the direction we faced. What are you looking at? We pointed to the moon. Monsieur and Madame has never seen the moon? And they walked away shaking their heads.

Sometimes I wonder if I could still be that content. Could I live someplace that hard again and still love it? Could I give up internet and cell phones and paved roads and clearance racks and ice cream and libraries and Starbucks and every other amusement? Could I give it up and have as much joy as i did that night? I don't know.

But tonight I watched the lunar eclipse, and I remembered. And I called up my family, my parents next door, my brother 4 hours north, my sister 3000 miles west. And I told them to look. And I wonder if they remember too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pet Peeves

I have taken great care with this list. So before I write them out for you, I need to explain a few things. There are far to many irritating forces in this world to list them all as pet peeves. The boundaries must be narrowed and refined.

1)Pet peeves shared by everyone cancel each other out. They are not pet peeves, thy are commonplace nuisances. Of course I hate hair in the sink and runs in my nylons (which by the way I no longer have to wear--and there was much rejoicing). Of course I hate soggy bread and mosquitoes, but so does everyone else. It doesn't qualify.

2)People are not pet peeves. People are annoying, and they do stupid things, but they are not pet peeves. Calling them such would just admit I was too lazy to identify the specific characteristic which annoyed me in the first place.

3)Pet peeves should not include moral issues. Those are more accurately called standards or convictions. Listing them off as pet peeves usually fulfills an ulterior motive. ie: I hate gossiping; therefore, I believe I am above gossip. I hate legalism; therefore, I believe you are legalistic/Pharisaical. You get the idea. Don't go there.

But here are a few legitimate pet peeves.

1)Amazing actors appearing in dumb movies
2)A book cover that doesn't match book's contents
3)Towns lacking coffee shops
4)Libraries that only allow you to check out 3 books
5)Arriving at a book sale after RuthAnn and Joanna have already cleaned out everything good
6)Museums featuring crooked art work (excluding anything found in the modern art gallery)
7)Limp handshakes