this week i am reading the shaping of a life by phyllis tickle. i am embarrassed to admit how very long ago i borrowed it. a shameful amount of time has passed. but now that i’ve begun it i’m sure i will be returning it soon.
it is precious. i’ve talked before about how much i enjoy memoirs. i am continually amazed at how many people’s stories are truly worth reading. maybe i just don’t get out very much, but people have such interesting tales to tell, made more interesting by their actually having happened. add exquisite writing to a beautiful story, and i am happy for days. just give me a little spot by a window with the sun shining in and leave me alone.
the writing in this particular memoir is so let-me-go-back-and-catch-that-phrase-again perfect that even her stories about mundane events, like playing with neighborhood children, hold my attention. i actually want to hear all the details of how kick the can is played. partly because i used to play it as a child and partly just because i’m fascinated that she can explain something so simple with such eloquent language. i feel like i’m at high tea with her. like i should sit up straight and listen. even though i’m just lying on a couch reading.
so far my favorite is this description of her mother’s routine prayer time in the afternoons. i have had to sit with this little bit of story for several days now. letting the picture of her mother (and of her as a child watching her mother) sink in a little deeper. i have wondered what my children are seeing as they watch me. what will they remember and be able to describe with such detail as this picture of the author’s mother? what is being imprinted on their little brains?