I realized Loren had my copy of The Corrections I’d given him in the early 2000’s: he said it was that book that made him realize what kind of writing he does and does not like, and that one was a ‘no’ because of how painfully realistic it was, the dysfunction of daily life and relations, that instead, he wanted books to take him somewhere else.
But I ate it up, rereading it: the jagged edges made me contemplate my own, the time traveling between characters at mid-life, toward life’s end, or at its start…how one scene told in detail over 10 pages could summarize a hundred childhood scenes all similar but forgotten, dismantled and rearranged, put back together again and regarded from afar.
I made my kids stay up late, and after 10 started the White Album and played it all the way through, but skipped “Revolution Number 9,” the remastered version of “Savoy Truffle” at the end…tried to get them to listen to the lyrics but they were so distracted and giddy at the strangeness of it all, of staying up late on a Sunday, the snow stacking up outside and the bistro lights illuminating it all…they couldn’t hear the words, it didn’t matter, there’d be another time.
Charlotte and I walked to the store and had to stop twice to get the snow out of her boots. I told her the word “slush” comes from the sound it makes when you step on it (made that one up).
On our way there it was turning to rain but when we came back it was snow again, big, fluffy flakes all up and down the road, our world reduced to a small, glass globe you could hold in your palms, an idealized life there in its miniature, frozen perspective.
The book was painfully sad and so real, it made me feel the same for my own small settings, moving from room to room, governed by foolish thoughts, sure to get most things wrong. Too much goodness to know what to do with it all, how much unrealized, no way to go back and correct it once committed.