Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

July 27, 2007

A bright spark

I've found three versions of "Anna Karenina" the movie so now I definitely have to finish the book. If I just watch one of them to find out the ending, how will I ever know if they got it right or totally mangled it? That would be unfair to Tolstoy.

And here's my favorite quote so far. Of course it's about education and totally off the main subjects of the book.

"He was nine years old and quite a child, but he knew his soul, it was dear to him, and he guarded it as the eyelid guards the eye, and never let anyone enter his heart without the key of love. His instructors complained that he would not learn, yet his soul was overflowing with longing for knowledge. So he learnt, from Kapitoninch, from his nurse, from Nadenka, and from Vasily Lukich, (My note: these are all either servants in his house or other children) but not from his teachers. The water which his father and the educationalists expected would turn their mill-wheels had long since leaked out and was working somewhere else." (p.498)

That's exactly how I felt when I was a kid. I felt then what is perhaps a natural feeling, that learning had to come through love shown to me (or at least to the subject!) by the teacher, otherwise I couldn't trust it.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 02:05 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2007

Russian richness

I've been reading Anna Karenina. 771 pages of infidelity in painful detail. After writing this book, Leo Tolstoy fell into a very deep depression and I can see why, that is, if the themes of this book had anything to do with it. So much disillusionment with society. This is not a book I can devour as fast as possible. There's just too much of it and it moves too slowly. I don't think anyone could be patient enough to endure all of the torments in this book at once. And clearly that's not the point. You just have to stop and reflect often and take in all the subtleties. In general, this book has all the acute perception of social details of a Jane Austen novel, but written from a more masculine perspective and with a whole lot more politics, history, religion, and sociology in it. You know how when you're reading a book some of the details of an event are summarized or glazed over to move the plot along or because it would be too wordy to describe everything? Uh, Tolstoy's clearly not concerned about that. Nothing is summarized, everything is fully expounded, often from more than one point of view. Sometimes whole scenes are replayed from each character's perspective. It's very satisfying if you want to know what everyone's thinking. This book is trying my patience right now because I'm so used to happy endings or maybe just stories that aren't so durned long. Noone's life is going to end happily ever after in this book and so I suppose in that way it's realistic. At the same time, I feel like you can either get lost in the sins and vices in life or you can have faith 'in the nobility of humankind' as Billy put it lately. I think I can see the effects of not taking religion seriously in this book. With the moral underpinnings of life gone, chaos and the dark side become more predominant and nothing works. It's a lot more complicated than this in the book, but I will try not to be too Tolstoy-ish and will leave it at that.

Except to answer the question of why, exactly, I'm putting myself through this. I think that reading these classics helps me in my everyday life taking care of little ones that seems so physical and mindless sometimes, but really needs quite a bit of mental fuel to apply spiritual principles all day, every day, while feeding my need for continuing to grow at my own grown-up level of learning. In short, I have to stay ahead of my kids so I can show them what to do next. So I can't stop learning now! And I'm so happy to have 'met' Tolstoy and to start a mental conversation with his writing. I read that after writing this book, he recovered from his depression by finding and leading a very simple, spiritual life. That helps me understand how to frame the book in my mind. Like once he wrote down all the things that were wrong about his world, he could see them all with such painful clarity that he just couldn't take it anymore. He had to make a complete break with the past and find a new direction. Such drama.

This was going to be a list of things on my mind, but it seems to be a book report. The list will have to come later.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:37 AM | Comments (2)

July 20, 2007

the empty walls echo

...experiencing...technical....difficulties...while switching to new computer...data lost and then restored....almost switched over....almost...able to breathe (if writing is breath..debatable, but I like the idea)

Posted by Bahiyyih at 07:04 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2007

Hee hee!

We put up a new family portrait on Billy's webble. Check it out! Billy says, "When you give up realism you can really capture the essence of someone.....er... it's color by number for pop culture".

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)