I find myself re-reading the thing again. I remember, one time (or maybe it was a few times over a few days, or a week, or a month but, in any case, it was quickly) reading as far back as I could go, being intrigued and interested and savouring it all as if I was the only person reading it; as if it was written just for me or I had found something secret that no one else knew about, like an old diary or papers full of writing, hidden away from public view.
But the re-reading is slower. Now I have a ‘thing’ to hold on to during the imagination. A voice. A real, live person. The smile. The hands, the hair, the look.
And, strangely, because I didn’t think it would be possible, the words take on an intensity that I can hardly bear. And that’s why it’s slow. The intensity is almost too much but I find that it makes it even better; better but harder.
But now I think each story is different than I had thought before but that, of course, is not so true. It may be different in my own head but the story remains the same it is only my perception of it that is different and my perception means nothing to anyone else except me. It certainly doesn’t make the story or the protagonists different or change their view of the story in any way.
I have mentioned before how a voice can make a difference to me (take Alan Bennett as a good example) but, I suppose, and I had never noticed this before, so does the physical person.
Margaret Atwood, whose Canadian accent makes each English word a new word for me, I like not only for her voice. She is kooky with her frizzed hair and her round face and, somehow, perfect for the books she writes. Maya Angelou, the truly great American poetess, who still fills me with some sort of awe, just to write her name, because of her voice and the fact that she is, as one would expect, or, rather, not as one would expect but as she is, a rather large and imposing lady suiting, so perfectly, her voice and with a power that is both from her voice and her physique that made me the gibbering idiot when I wanted to say that I thought she was great and that I loved her and her power with words.
And Joan Armatrading, who, when I first met her was this rather small lady, so shy, so quiet and with her voice so deep, so powerful who has, actually, grown into her voice, if you see what I mean.
And so, the person and the voice are important and are what is now making me re-read so slowly and deliberately, trying to understand more than I did and knowing that is futile, really, since who can know anyone else by anything they do or say or write or sing.
And so I read and picture and imagine. There are bits that, although I know I have read them before, seem new and interesting and different, like they’ve been added just now, today, for me, to make it worth the effort to re-read (even if it is no effort on its own, just effort because of that intensity I mentioned before). And, somehow, more meaningful. And, again, I realise that it is my perception.
And, of course, it is our perception that makes the world as it is, not the world. The world remains constant, constantly changing of course but changing in a way that is the same. We change, however, or, rather, our perception changes and the re-reading points this out so clearly I wonder why I hadn’t realised it before now; why anyone hadn’t realised it before now – or perhaps they did and I was just late to get here. Perhaps the joke’s on me and everyone else has realised this, almost from birth.
And now I feel quite stupid for not understanding this much better. Not that it matters as most people who read this (few they may be) don’t know me and so, will nod sagely or laugh or whatever it is that one does when one knows the truth and reads about someone else just getting there.
And I thought I would post a picture of Michael Foot because he came up in conversation, recently, and I said that he looked like a tramp. And it might seem that this is unimportant (and, in reality, it is) but it is important to me. And I’m sorry that the picture didn’t come out in the same way that I had saved it but I hope you get the idea.by