Sunday, July 14, 2013

Paper Dolls

I've decided to pursue a "course of steady reading" as they would have said in earlier days.  I have finished all of Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, and L. M. Montgomery and am working on The Scarlet Letter.  Most of these books I have read before, but I find that as I get older, each book means something a little different.  My experiences allow me to see different facets and nuances that I never noticed before and, as any great book can do, reveals something of my innermost longings to me.

I flew through the "Anne of Green Gables" series, hungrily devoured the gentle manners in "Emma", and thoroughly enjoyed Louisa May's perfectly imperfect characters in "Rose in Bloom".  The fact that the "Scarlet Letter" is hard work and I couldn't bear to finish the even first chapter in the pompous "Walden" tells me something about myself.  All of the books I enjoyed conjured charming images of domestic pleasures and society.  They knew their neighbors and had relationships with them.  The art of politeness oiled discourse between those less than fond of each other and tolerance was well honed.  Of course these stories were of the best of situations, but nevertheless, something to strive for.

Our dealings with one another today are very different.  Everyone is so trapped in boxes that there is no time for real people.  We have Facebook friends but few flesh and blood friends.  We connect with Linked In not by looking into someone's eyes.  Everywhere one goes, eyes are glued to screens of smart phones or attention focused on the virtual person at the other end of the phone line and not on anyone who is close enough to see or touch.  We live our lives through impossible, and often reprehensible, characters on television, but ignore the potential for making our own amazing lives.

I find this a very lonely and limited way to live.  While Facebook has its uses, I find it shallow and  highly unsatisfying.  I don't want to only see the best of people for then I must only show them the best of me.  It's as if everyone collects pretty paper dolls that they can just put back into the envelope when they aren't in the mood or are busy with something else.  Real people are flawed and messy.  Relationships are hard work and can bring pain as well as joy.

Bring on the work! Show me your worst as well as the best!  I don't want to go back into the envelope.


  1. Have you read "Lady Chatterly's Lover" ? It was one of the first examples of infidelity outside of marriage, written in the Victorian Era.
    I just finished some really cool antique books about the spanish conquistadors and early florida. for free on google books. there's all kinds of good free books on there, you just have to find them.
    enjoy your summer! we are staying inside since it's too hot to garden.

  2. I have read that book, but it was long enough ago that all I remember was that I liked it. I do love that sort of literature though.

    I finally broke down and bought a Kindle this year and have been thrilled at the number of free or very inexpensive classics available. Plus it holds 1500 books and doesn't take any space in our tiny home.


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