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Pickle Me This

June 12, 2013

The benefits of being bedridden

“Charles can no longer pay attention to one source of information at a time. He is Modern Man, programmed to take in several story lines, several plots at once. He cannot quite unravel them, but he cannot do without the conflicting impulses, the desperate stimuli. Perhaps he hopes the alcohol will simplify them, will stick them together and fuse them all into one consecutive narrative. The narrative of his own life, of his place in the history and geography of the world.” –Margaret Drabble, A Natural Curiosity

“‘No,’ I answered. “I don’t agree with that. I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It’s hollow.” –e.l. konigsburg, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Isn’t Margaret Drabble’s 1989 novel eerily prescient of the internet? I enjoyed the konigsburg book as well, though it was a curious one. I’m now finishing reading Lisa Moore’s novel Caught, and will be rereading Slouching Towards Bethlehem afterwards. And I think I’m going to miss being bedridden… Other books in the horizon are The Eliot Girls and The Flamethrowers. And truly, this is the reason that breast is best.

3 thoughts on “The benefits of being bedridden”

  1. Carrie says:

    Reading with baby at breast! Sounds blissful.

    I read and re-read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler when I was a child. It was one of my all-time favourites. I love brother & sister books (being the eldest of five, with the next three in line brothers), and as a child loved the idea of children escaping from the norms and surviving on their wits. Whole scenes from that book still live in me. It made art and museums seem alive and accessible.

  2. theresa says:

    I remember reading Anne Truitt’s Daybook: The Journal of an Artist when my third child was an infant. This was before we had access to the internet at home (Angelica was born in 1985) so it wasn’t until years later that I was able to actually look at images of AT’s work online and to be honest, it doesn’t really move me. But oh, her account of making art while she had small children was so rich and inspiring. I’d look up from reading, baby in my arms, and think, well, there’s no point in putting it off, you will simply have to get back to work. I didn’t know what kind of work, I was in a strange transition from poetry to prose but the reading helped me to figure out that I did need to find time for it. A little tiny bit of time.

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