Thursday, December 09, 2010

Literature

Sometimes, I just want to stay in, open a good book, play some classical music and sip peppermint tea. Today is one of those days. How ironic that the plans for the day are quite the opposite of anything I might consider relaxing.

But, allow me to dally in memory lane for a bit longer. I remember the first stirrings of my interest in Literature. It began when we had English class in High School. We were required to read short stories such as "A Rose for Emily" and Kate Chopin's "The Awakening." These small nuggets of beautiful prose simply transformed my humdrum world of cheerleading, cool jeans, and homework.Both my English teachers in High School had a gift of bringing the novel or short story to life by including interesting pictures, background information or activities. I remember when we studied "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes," our entire class learned how to make paper cranes, and then we sent more than thousands of them to the memorial for Sadako in Japan. Or, how we were forced to write poems or answer deep essay questions on the exam.

Fast forward about 2 years to the University of Sioux Falls where literature yet again stepped up a notch in worth. By this time, I was an English major and also in the English club. One of our professors had an idea to hold a reading of Beowulf on a Saturday morning. The event was called "Beowulf and bagels." The activity? Enjoy freshly made bagels and read out loud in turns the entire work of Beowulf. One professor even dressed up in warrior clothing of the time, complete with brown, animal fur tunic, a long-pole like spear and a broad shield. It felt like a scene right out of Braveheart only instead of fighting with weapons, he was using the passion to dredge through Beowulf. I'll never forget the sun room in Jordan hall, the brown-paper bags stuffed with bagels, and the participants taking turns to read chunks from this ancient work of literature. To see the passion and the gleam in the eyes of my professors showed me that literature truly transcends the distance between mind and soul and links them inexplainably together.

And now today, as I long to stay in with a good book, I go out and face the world. But in the breaks in between class, I pick up my book of choice for the day and read, "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested" (Francis Bacon). Today I guess I have quite an appetite.

1 comment:

Norman & Joyce said...

Some mead and bagels might be good.