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Pickle Me This

March 15, 2006

These books are full of our lives

For our creative writing assignment this week, we have been instructed to invent the prose glose. “Glose” is actually pronounced “glossa” but not spelt as such, because “glossa” means tongue, did you know that? I didn’t. And so I have decided to use a short story from Carol Shields’ Various Miracles. Oh, the history of our books. I bought this one last winter at the used book store in Kobe. I almost didn’t, probably because I had a whole stack in hand already, but after I’d paid for my purchases, I went back to the counter and got this one too. I read Various Miracles just over a year ago, on the train to Osaka, where we were going to chase penguins at the aquarium. I read most of the story “Scenes” while we were waiting to switch lines at Amagasaki Station, and was stunned by the similarities between this story and the conversation Stuart and I had been having earlier in the journey. The whole book was a bit familiar anyway, like someone else had written down my unarticulated ponderings. And now reading it today, I remember how that felt, and I miss that sunny spring. Just over a month after that spring day, the Amagasaki train crash and over a hundred people dead, and we left Japan two weeks after that, perhaps forever. And looking back, I cannot believe that that was ever my life, but I am so glad that once it was.

I left as we do our childhoods:/ rushing to escape, without souvenirs./ I collected no sake cups/no tsukemono plates./ All this time/ a core of miso grew. ~Alison Smith, “Under-Country” from Six Mats and One Year

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