Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sewing and Reading about Reading

As I moan so often, quilting is very labor intensive. I am working away on the blocks for my 30's scrappy chain design and makes hexagons for the Maxine Rothschild "stack and whack" style quilt but I have nothing interesting to show yet.

Meanwhile I am also reading a weighty book of posthumously collected essays and talks by Robertson Davies -- the rather fierce looking fellow in this old-ish picture. The dust jacket picture of the book I'm reading, The Merry Heart, makes him look much more avuncular, almost Santa Claus-y. But he does have a certain strictness if not fierceness about him. Some of the pieces I'm scanning but I'm very impressed with two, which have, in fact, been published on their own -- two related lectures at Yale called Reading and Writing. First about reading. He urges speedy reading only of dull stuff, like directions for preparing your tax or the contents info on grocery packaging.

He believes serious literature deserves a reading slow enough to hear it in the mind and to savor its rhythms and eloquence as one reads. I'm glad he confirms that my habit of slow reading is not only okay, but optimal. I can't help but think so, for it means I almost always remember the serious books I read, if not all that they said, the sense I had of the writer's mind as I was reading -- what an individual style says to me about both the material in the book and the thought process that produced it. This method of reading honors the creativity of the author and enriches the pleasure and life of the reader. I absolutely agree. Tomorrow I'll go on with what he says about writing. And maybe I'll find that kindlier looking photo.

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