pg. 8Then Ms. Hussey asked if anyone in the class had ever received a truly extraordinary letter. No one had. Ms. Hussey looked very interested. They had ended up with a strange assignment."Let's see what we can find," Ms. Hussey began. "Ask an adult to tell you about a letter they will never forget. I'm talking about a piece of mail that changed their life. How old were they when they got it? Where were they when they opened it? Do they still have it?"....Ms. Hussey suddenly clapped her hands, making Petra jump and setting the little pearl earring into orbit. "I know! Once you find a letter that changed a life, sit down and write me a letter. Write me a letter I won't be able to forget."pg. 36"You know," Ms. Hussey said finally, "Picasso said that art is a lie, but a lie that tells the truth."pg. 247My lie is that I am only canvas and pigment. My truth is that I am alive. Some might call this your imagination, but it's not. Art, as you know, is about ideas. I am as real as your blue china or the boy with the box or the girl who dreamed about me. I am very much here.
pp. 78-79Too many people apologize when they are caught enjoying a book of fiction; they are afraid that it will be considered a waste of time and that they ought to be reading a biography or a book of information on how to pot plants. Is Jane Eyre not true? Did Conrad, turning to the writing of fiction in his sixties, not search there for truth? Was Melville, writing about the sea and the great conflict between a man and a whale, not delving for a deeper truth than we can find in any number of how-to books?
And Shakespeare and all the other dramatists before and after him! Are they not revealers of truth?pp. 90-91And what is real? Does the work of art have a reality beyong that of the artist's vision, beyond whatever has been set down on canvas, paper, musical notations? If the artist is the servant of the work, if each work of art, great or small, is the result of an annunciation, then it does.Hamlet is. When the play has been read, when the curtain goes down on the performance, Hamlet still is. He is, in all his ambivalence, as real as Byron or as the man who cried out, "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief," or as Ivan Karamazov. The flight of stairs up which George MacDonald's princess had to climb would be there whether or not MacDonald had ever written The Princess and the Goblin. The storm still rages around King Lear. The joy of Bach's gigue at the end of the Fifth French Suite does not depend on a piano for its being.
Write a Letter
Those romance book suggestions I asked for a while ago?
Guess what I then added to my list and also arrived a couple days ago in a red envelope:
Speaking of connections...
Romance Movies, Scarlett Johansson
I rewatched this favorite a week or two ago:
(Costuming and setting: Oooh, la, la!!!!)
I feel a rabbit trail coming on...
Minnie Driver cracks. me. up. in this one:
Oooh, lookie. It's Colin Firth (and Oscar Wilde and Rupert Everett....), again:
Speaking of Colin Firth, I also rewatched Pride & Prejudice last week!
Enough with the rabbit trails, already!
I'm going to go put on my pearl earrings and get to work.
We're studying Vermeer. And Shakespeare.
(I just finished reading The Shakespeare Stealer... Hamlet, again! Review coming.)
And beginning our next read-aloud, The Princess and the Goblin.
And listening to a little Bach.
And making pentominoes for our math lesson.
And sorting and counting (and eating) M&Ms.
And diving head-long into my book club selection for this month, Jane Eyre.
And placing A Swiftly Tilting Planet precariously at the top of my towering and tilting book stack.