Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Life and Times of #84

The more I read it, the more I enjoy this wonderful review by fellow blogger Annie Wyndham. I love where she takes it, and where it eventually takes her:

Michaelian’s novel made me aware that choosing to be who you are can be revolutionary — and life altering, not only for you but for others.

That is the very heart of the matter. And getting there is a matter of life, love, and listening — the very ingredients Annie brings to this and all of her thoughtful “jottings.”

Who I am is of little importance. Stephen Monroe is the one who matters, because in this world he is everyone I have ever known.

Thank you, Annie.


Paul L. Martin said...

One can determine the quality of the book by the writing inspired by it. Excellent review of a book that should be on 10 best lists for 2011.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Paul. I see those lists but I rarely read them, just as I rarely read reviews that appear in any of the so-called major media outlets. Thoughts like Annie’s, and yours, and Joe’s, and many others who have graced this blog and my Facebook page with their comments, are those I count on and cherish most — not just as salve for my ego, but for genuine insight and information. It’s the down-to-earth perspective I love, without any corporate axe to grind.

As much as I would like a wide readership for A Listening Thing, and as accessible as it is, it is not a book for the “masses.” The novel is meant to be lived and read one reader at a time. Entertainment, yes. Enlightenment, maybe. Mutual respect? Beyond any doubt.

Two Tigers said...

What a lovely, and well-deserved, and insightful review, William! The idea of being yourself being revolutionary seems such an old and obvious truth and yet the evidence is everywhere that it needs reiterating, and reliving more today than ever. For your eloquent part in this effort, many thanks. Also, I am grateful to hear your book is not for the masses! I would have to go and immediately unread it.

William Michaelian said...

And if I’d said it was for the “messes,” you can be sure I’d be first in line. Thanks, Gabriella. I love how from the beginning — and you were one of the first to write about A Listening Thing — impressions and reviews like yours and Annie’s have added such fine perspective to the book. Imagine if no one said anything. Well, it isn’t hard to do, and that’s something we’ve both lived through, and to some extent still do. What we create lives and grows by the hearts and minds that encounter it. It needs to be turned over, rubbed, held up to the light, and examined. Everything that survives comes down to us that way.

vazambam said...

"Imagine if no one said anything. Well, it isn’t hard to do, and that’s something we’ve both lived through, and to some extent still do."

Fortunately, Annie is one of those rare individuals who does say something about things she really cares for and that quality shines through her wonderful review: Only one thing left for me to say--I wish I had written
it, dear friend!

jasmin said...

Bis jetzt habe ich wenig lesen können, aber was ich aus dem Buch lesen konnte, was ich mit den Augen sehen konnte, und mit dem gefühlsbetonten Beitrag von Annie, und auch von vielen anderen kritischen, positiven und schönen Beiträgen und Kommentaren, denn oft ist eine helfende Kritik viel wert, wenn sie in Achtung und Reife gegeben wird, ist es für mich ein Wunderwerk mit vielen sensiblen Worten, Beobachtungen, Gedanken und Träumen.

Danke, lieber William
mit freundlichen Grüßen und Wünsche Jasmin

William Michaelian said...

Vassilis, one thing I love about Annie’s writing is the obvious pleasure she takes in doing it. She’s the happy child who runs ahead and waves at everyone behind her on the path, then runs back again full of excitement about what she’s seen. She loves words and revels in their possible meaning. But most important, she writes what she thinks and thinks while she writes — she isn’t coy or too proud to be surprised. And behind this all, and through it, and shining from it, is the heart of a genuine friend. We’re all fortunate to know her. But of course you already know this. The evidence is here, in your beautiful, gracious words.

Thank you, Jasmin. I do wish you could read these entries, and the book itself, in your own language. That you have been laboring for so long with the help of clumsy online translators is a great compliment. It also reveals the good, kind person that you are. I’m glad you find meaning here. Because even among those who speak and write the same language, a great deal is lost in “translation.” The proof of that is all around us.

giacomo conserva said...

'Michaelian’s novel made me aware that choosing to be who you are can be revolutionary — and life altering, not only for you but for others'. True- and it brought to my mind something beloved and long-forgotten; the great speech by Shevek in UKLeguin's 'The dispossed' (if I recollect right): "You can't DO the revolution, you can BE the revolution".
I'll try to work on this, and 'The listening thing'- love Giacomo

William Michaelian said...

Giacomo, whether or not your memory is correct (I’ve read only a little of Le Guin’s work), your revolutionary quote is. And that is further proof of what you so kindly said today in your blog: “Words (written, spoken, lived) remain.” Thank you.