Kicking the cold, reflecting on reading

I’m slightly less sick now. Thanks to all of you faithful blog followers who have been diligently bringing up this site, waiting to see if I’ve turned into a swine. I don’t want to disappoint any gamblers who might have been betting against me, but I’m still just a short caucasian girl with a runny nose. I blow things out of proportion sometimes. However, I still think Meredith might die. She rides her bike to school in the rain, so she hasn’t gotten better yet.

I’m reading The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon right now. That book is a trip. I think I might understand it better if I were smoking something while I read it. But it’s not a pleasant trip like something you’d get from listening to the Beatles (though it was written in the 60s). It’s a grungy sort of feeling that leaves me wishing the world weren’t so…blech. Maybe I just don’t get it. I’m only on the third chapter, so I can’t fairly jump to any conclusions yet. I just need to get into a Pynchon state of mind (a frightening thought).

My professor talked about how Pynchon is Postmodern. His description of Postmodernism sounded like a mess of sameness, shallowness, flat functionality, and ugly, practical architecture. Me, I’m a fan of Modernism. Modernism had TS Eliot and Yeats. Those are my boys. They looked at life and said, hey, why are we so alienated? We’re alienated from each other, we’re alienated from nature, heck, we’re even alienated from our selves. We don’t know who we are or what we’re here for.

I can feel that in my own life. I feel the most myself when I’m in nature. I don’t have to perform for anyone or worry about society or who I’m supposed to be. I feel most at peace and closest to God when I’m in nature. It always gives me the sense that if everything else fell down around me, as long as I could run off into the woods or the mountains, I would be content. When I sit on the bank of a creek and listen to the natural sounds of life, Psalm 46:10’s admonition is easy: “Be still and know that I am God.” Then, if only briefly, I know who I am and what I’m here for. Since part of what I’m here for is to love, I try not to be alienated from people either. I’m a story teller. I love talking to people and telling them everything in my head and on my heart. As much as I love nature, I wouldn’t survive long without genuine interactions with other people. When I manage to shut my mouth for a while, I love to listen to people too. But I know what Eliot is getting at about alienation in Prufrock when he says,

“And I have known the eyes already, known them all– The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin, When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall, Then how should I begin To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? And how should I presume?”

Existentialism might be a bit much for me, but I do like to think about it, too. Sometimes I go through life just trying to be functional, but it always leaves me feeling empty and antsy for something else, something different, something more. I know there’s more to life than existence. I don’t want to just be here.

This class- The Rise and Triumph of the Novel- is the best ever, by the way. Call me predictable, but my favorite so far is The Great Gatsby, which I somehow didn’t read in high school. But now it’s time to get back to Pynchon. Maybe my eyes will be opened.

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About Nicole

Daughter of God, wife, mother, volunteer youth leader, substitute teacher, aspiring writer, rabbit owner, nature lover. These are some of my titles.
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