Where does inspiration lie? Everywhere!

This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

A Creator of Inwardness

Today The Paris Review posted A Creator of Inwardness, a fine remembrance of Susan Sontag, born today in 1933.  I quote:
I wouldn’t be the person I am, I wouldn’t understand what I understand, were it not for certain books. I’m thinking of the great question of nineteenth-century Russian literature: how should one live? A novel worth reading is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility, of what human nature is, of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.
—Susan Sontag, 
The Art of Fiction No. 143

Elsewhere she wrote:

“My library is an archive of longings.” 

― Susan Sontag


This has been true for me, too.  Inwardness, desire and compassionin all of their complexitiesgrew in me through reading.


Inwardness

    Life was cushioned and dull until she 
entered books' portals and lived other lives 
besides her own—
     Dangerous dreaming time
in parallel universes she half
recognized in déjà vu dizziness—
    Naked characters dilemma-driven
at crossroads of life and death wrestling
with logic and emotion. 
     She listened whole-heartedly,
eavesdropping on mysteries of silence
that perplexed her in the everyday
with books shut and eyes on parents, pets,
teachers and classmates—
     She closed and hugged her novel
recognizing in nature each life as
a closed book with covers and inward
dimensions—
     She, too, designed a cover to protect
her inner spaciousness, growing like a tree
or iceberg greater beneath the surface.

Copyright © 2014 by S.L.Chast