Thursday, December 27, 2012

I forgive you, Out-of-Printness


I've learned that to forgive I first must recognize myself as wronged. Which is a little hard today.  A full complement of candlelight and carols.  Jane Austen movie cuddled up with daughter.  Not to mention pumpkin eggnog cheesecake made by another daughter.  Not to mention all the hugs after the opening of every single gift and sometimes in between.  The dear dramatic enthusiasm over each package each child opened.  Even the set of coupons a younger brother gave to an older:  Save Time!  Play More!  I've got your chore today covered!!!!!! 

Life is good.  I hope as good there wherever you are as it has been here.

I have even had a delicious book to read, a forgotten YA fantasy, The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson, a book that begins with the snow we wish we were having here:
It had snowed in the night.  Tilja knew this before she woke, and waking she remembered how she knew.  Somewhere between dream and dream a hand had shaken her shoulder and she'd heard Ma's whisper. 
"It's snowing at last.  I must go and sing to the cedars.  You'll have to make the breakfast before you feed the hens."
It looks like it's going to be just the cozy kind of book, a little dangerous, a little magical, perfect for a Christmas read.  That it is out of print in some ways adds to the pleasure. The pleasure of having found something that other people have forgotten.  But it is also a little sad: so much work goes into writing anything that I ache to see all that heartfelt effort remaindered.

This month I've been reading out loud to my sons another of Dickinson's books, The Dancing Bear, a young adult historical novel set at the fall of the Byzantine empire.  A book about remaking a life after its complete destruction.  Also out of print.  I don't know why so many of Dickinson's books are out of print.  I love what I've read so far.  The characterizations fresh and real, the plots well-wrought, the tone a little droll, a little sly but at the same time full of a simple warmth.  It is sad to think how many other better-deserving books I may never find that have already disappeared with their small delights into the great abyss of the out of print.
. . . and Tilja last of all, with Calico and the roller, watching the repetitive pattern of golden grains arcing out from Ma's hand and falling in a graceful curve, like the ghost of a huge, slowly beating wing. 
Tilja was filled with a kind of happy grief that she should be seeing Woodbourne at its most loved season, and family and horses working all together, expressing that love, and their love for each other, in their work, expressing it in a way that her parents would not have put into words, this last time, when she might never see it again. 

You are a small sorrow, Out-of-Printness, in a world of big sorrows.  It is a kind of happy grief to be able to feel a little sad over something like you. To feel wronged by your willingness to forget and discard.  To have to forgive you.

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