ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.

Tuesday

20

May 2008

0

COMMENTS

Atonement

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Hey, 100th post. If I were a TV show I could go into syndication. Hopefully not on the CW.


I’m reading Atonement right now, and it’s nice to get into a novel again. I mostly avoid reading novels because the non-fiction books always draw me in. I like learning random things (Stiff is a great example, all about the things that happen to bodies after we die), and I worry that frankly I don’t quite always ‘get’ novels.


Example – a friend read my favorite novel (Blindness) and made an observation that is probably true, but in my many readings I hadn’t really even considered. I do recall from my AP English days that we would have long discussions about what mattered in novels – what the author meant or what I got fro the book. But the neurotic in me worries I’ll miss something and end up reading a book, thinking I get it, and find out I don’t. Am I going to invest time in Don Quixote only to realize that I’ve totally missed the point?


But who cares. I think evolving and gaining wisdom involves recognizing that it’s just fine to admit that I don’t know something. It’s much more rewarding to open myself to learning new things even if the occasional person thinks ill of me for it. Because in reality, those people who look down on me for being open about and wanting to learn more about topics I don’t really know aren’t the people I want to know.  


ANYWAY. I’m really enjoying this book. The writing is fabulous and descriptive, and even though I have images of the characters in my mind thanks to the movie preview that ran incessantly last summer, I think those images fit the writing, if that makes sense. I’m also enjoying the story and the exploration of the characters. The ability to write from so many different perspectives – a young teen, a young woman, young men, the mother – is such a talent. It’s especially great because it provides a reminder of how everything we view looks different depending on what we bring to the table.  


And then that gets me thinking about my own life and how I experience things. I took a course in school that asked us to look at things “from the balcony.” View the scene or incident as an objective observer, not as a participant. It is amazing how that clears some things up. Sure, it isn’t a solution to all miscommunications or misunderstandings, but it adds clarity to so many situations. For example, in a meeting today, we were discussing a project that I had a big hand in. People had criticism – but it was constructive. And even the less than constructive criticism could be helpful. In the past, I may have just gotten defensive (hopefully only in my head, although depending on my mood that wasn’t guaranteed), but I’m getting better at being able to separate myself from that and look at it from other perspectives, which is so much more productive. And so much less stressful.

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