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Pickle Me This

May 14, 2009

Reliving my own evolution

“I begin to relive at high speed my own evolution towards language, towards stories. Reading books to my daughter revives my appetite for expression. Like someone visiting old haunts after an absence I read books that I have read before, books that I love, and when I do I find them changed: they give the impression of having contained all along everything that I have gone away to learn. I begin to find them everywhere, in pages that I thought familiar; prophecies of what was to come, pictures of the very place in which I now stand, and yet which I look on with no spark of recognition. I wonder how I could have read so much and learned so little. I have stared at these words like the pots and pans, the hoarded gold of a precious civilization, immured in museum glass. Could it be true that one has to experience in order to understand? I have always denied this idea, and yet of motherhood, for me at least, it seems to be the case. I read as if I were reading letters from the dead, letters addressed to me but long unopened; as if by reading I were bringing back the vanished past, living it again as I would like to live every day of my life again, perfectly, without misunderstanding.” –Rachel Cusk, A Life’s Work: On Becoming a Mother

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