New Civilization News: Walking a Literary Labyrinth    
 Walking a Literary Labyrinth2 comments
picture21 Mar 2004 @ 17:55, by Tom Bombadil

Photo: Labyrinthos, Jeff Saward (Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth)

The labyrinth "speaks" to us in metaphor. It is a watering hole for the spirit; a reflective mirror of the soul. It is a place where we can 'wind down' to quiet the mind and when we do this, the door to our intuitive world opens to us.

Lauren Artress


The labyrinth is a meditative path that "symbolizes our journey through life," writes Nancy M. Malone, in Walking a Literary Labyrinth

"Reading has changed how I see, or have seen, others...

Alice Walker's The Color Purple makes me see the world through the eyes of a black woman. In Saul Bellow's Mr. Sammiers's Planet, I live inside the head of a Jewish intellectual. ...I become intimate with a reluctant Czech dissident in Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

I can hardly conceive how limited my perception would be without the books I have been priviledged to read, how supperficial my understanding of others, how undeveloped my sympathies. And I mean here, especially, without fiction, which puts flesh and blood on, and the soul and feeling in, other human beings.

...In fiction I come to know and understand people I may not have met otherwise. And thus I am persuaded to a more compassionate, generous, and loving response in my life beyond books."

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22 Mar 2004 @ 12:31 by koravya : A book I recognize
Here is one of them.
As for my oun personal labyrinth in recent months,
there was a journey beginning last fall with Larry McMurtry, to whom I was introduced with The Last Picture Show, followed by Anything For Billy. Then his Terms of Endearment, followed by Lonesome Dove, and then Streets of Laredo.
Those last two told the story of a remarkable journey of the post civil war era on the cattle trail from Texas to Montana through the lives of several
compellingly brought-to-life characters.
Then I entered the world of Hanta Yo by Ruth Beebe Hill, a thousand page story of the Lakota tribespeople of the North central plains during the late seventeen hundreds and early eighteen hundreds, in a language and idiom as close to the sense of those people as that author could craft. The story of who those people were and how they were before contact and through the very first, initial points of contact.
For my Christmas break, I went with the eyes and mind of Ernest Hemingway to the Spain of the Civil War of the late 30's in For Whom The Bell Tolls.
More recently. I have followed closely the characters developed by Barbara Kingsolver in The Poisonwood Bible, and Prodigal Summer, as well as going through two books of her essays, Small Wonder, and High Tide in Tucson.
Those are the paths I walked with during this most recent Fall and Winter,
in my kitchen late at night, when all of the other lights are off, and all of the sounds of the day have disappeared. Call it a meditation in which I visit a part of myself, as I recognize myself in these characters, who are almost as real to me in their own way in my memory and imagination as anyone whom I have known in person. Credit to the authors for that talent and insight and desire to bring to life and share those manifestations of recognizability.
The set of discussion questions on the page describing the book are rich with reflecitive posibilities.  

24 Mar 2004 @ 12:12 by bombadil : Reflective Possibilities
WOW, some very interesting paths you've uncovered here! Some familiar ones (always fun to explore again, as seasons are changing and different sceneries are revealed) and some fascinating new ones too.

I couln't help it, I had to take a quick pick, and before I knew it, I found myself irresistibly following the path leading to the North central plains and found the Lakota people at Ruth Beebe Hill first wrote {link:|Hanta Yo} in English, then translated it into the Lakota language, and then back into English. "The result," one reader reports, "is that it has a cadence and feeling of the Indian language that immerses one in the feeling and spirit of the Lakota culture…"

The second path, I followed, took me to Africa, to {link:|The Poisonwood Bible}: "Kingsolver tells the story through five different narrators with five distinctive voices and personalities."

All very, very enticing. I have updated my literary map and added these new prospective hiking paths. Note to myself: go hiking more often and explore these trails sometime soon.  

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