Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Thoughts about Thoughts

"We read privately, mentally listening to the writer's voice and translating the writer's thoughts. The book remains static and fixed; the reader journeys through it. Picking up the book in the first place entails an active pursuit of understanding."

Eats, Shoots and Leaves
Lynn Truss

I stewed on this passage for a couple of days after reading it. It is so true. I love "listening" to the writer as I read: style and sound based on ideas, word usage, and punctuation. Non-fiction especially; the writer's voice seems stronger, or more personal. Maybe that I why I love reading blogs.

Although a little off-topic, it made me think of when I read through Madeleine L'Engle's The Crosswicks Journal - Books 1-3 (A Circle of Quiet, The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, and The Irrational Season) along with Two Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage, a couple of years ago. I can honestly say that while reading them, I felt like she was talking to me - teaching me. I can even remember writing a very peculiar daybook entry at the time, saying, "Madeleine and I were talking the other day..." Eeeeweee. Isn't that weird? But I honest-to-goodness felt like that. Her presence is very strong in her non-fiction. I highly recommend that series: I learned A LOT (she also enhanced my affection for the semi-colon). And finally, I have no doubt; that woman is definitely an "N".