Like the blogger Drek at the sociology blog Scatterplot, from which I am stealing this video, I take things much too literally. I, too, blame this trait for my inability to “get” poetry (a fact which causes no end of frustration to my boyfriend, who writes it; he thinks I’m just not trying).
There’s a particular irony in my case, though, because I am a highly sarcastic individual. And yet also highly gullible, as I am, inexplicably, prone to interpreting others credibly. Said boyfriend and I used to live in Brooklyn, where we had a really busybody landlord living on the ground floor of the same building — a fact I was not too happy about. I was kind of ill when we moved in, so I went to sleep in the middle of the floor, surrounded by boxes, while he went out with his friend. The next morning I was expressing my fears about living with a landlord who always seemed to be hanging around watching, when this exchange occurred:
BOYFRIEND: Yeah, she was still sitting outside watching when I got in last night.
ELIZABETH: What? What time was that?
BOYFRIEND: Maybe 2, 3 AM.
ELIZABETH: Oh my god. We’ll never be able to get away from her! We’ll have to run in and out of the house!
BOYFRIEND: Actually, she said she was going to stop by for brunch this morning.
BOYFRIEND: I think she’ll be here any minu– [pauses, listening] — Is that her?
ELIZABETH: [grim, efficient determination] Okay, let’s think. Maybe we can sneak out the window!
I was totally serious, y’all. (We lived on the third floor of a building with very high ceilings, by the way.) The boyfriend, fortunately, was not.
Anyway, after that excessively long and irrelevant set-up, here is the literally-minded Total Eclipse of the Heart:
And now, to finally make this nominally relevant to our blog: I have noticed that my reading habits have changed with the blog, and I’m not sure if it’s blogging itself (which has made me think more about what I’m reading and take note of cool lines for the Wednesday Words) or things I started doing at around the same time, which partially inspired me to start the blog (reading other blogs, reading books about how fiction is constructed, reading more new children’s lit instead of my same old favorites). But one thing I’ve observed is how much more I appreciate metaphors than I did when I was little.
Like, I had this bizarre experience reading PAPER TOWNS:
- I love this passage about the strings and the ships and the grass!
- Um, it’s a two-page passage about metaphors for death.
- But it’s beautiful!
- The characters are talking to each other about what’s the best metaphor for death!!!
- But they’re picking such good ones!
(I have very explicit arguments with myself in my head.)
So, is this just a sign of getting older — I was never one of those super-literary kids; I loved to read, but it was always trash — or is book blogging going to make me a more high-minded reader? Might I somehow become a poetry fan after all??