Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reading is always serendipitous

Read tonight in the bathtub:

"Some say the dead don't die completely until there is no one alive who remembers them. Action or response, unique arrangement of words, a particular way of marking time. Until no image remains in living consciousness, they say, those semi-dead wait in a place of semi-death. Only when no memory speaks in past or present tense do those completely forgotten enter the world of the completely dead."---Margaret Randall, "Remembering Mother"

Read a couple of hours later, shortly before brushing my teeth before going to bed:

"Her need to taint her dead was something new. These were not feasts but snacks, focused only on details, which I was hearing for the first time, and, indeed, she may have fabricated them on the spot to hold my attention and confide a secret she had never told a soul. Perhaps the fact that she was in possession of information relating to the dead gave her a glow of satisfaction. Recalling her late friends, sometimes, as if she'd just then decided to take their grades down a notch in the school records, she'd add importantly: I never took to him; I never liked her much either; They didn't appeal to me; She was always stingy; No, they were not nice people

[. . . ]

"It may be that with this tainting of the memory of the dead she was easing her feeling of guilt for things she hadn't done for them but might have, her guilt for what she had let slip by. She camouflaged her lack of greater attentiveness to the people closest to her with a hardness in judgement. She simply seemed afraid of caring more for others. At some point she had been scared of life just as she was scared of death. That was why she held on so firmly to her place, her stubborn coordinates, and shut her eyes to the scenes and situations that moved her too deeply."--Dubravka Ugresic, Baba Yaga Laid an Egg

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