The power of words

The magic in booksBen White (@benwhitephotography) at Unsplash

Unbidden, unrehearsed, we supplied the next lines

Many years ago, on Opening Day of the then-new glass-and-steel Library in downtown Seattle, my husband and I happened to be on the scene together with literally THOUSANDS of enthusiastic people who were thronging the street outside the edifice (and my writer’s heart was gladdened to see so many readers who couldn’t wait to pour through the front doors…)

We got inside, with the rest of them and wandered around inspecting the place. We sat down to rest a moment, together with a bunch of other people who were all strangers to one another, on a chair which was part of a grouping of seats in the foyer.

One of the other people there was a young parent with a small child, and the child was having a picture book read to it, out loud. It might have been any picture book, but the words were familiar, familiar, familiar – and not just to me. So while the kid listened, rapt, those strangers at the group of seats began to smile and their heads began to swivel.

And the picture book came to,

If the area window was found ajar
And the basement looked like field of war,
If a tile or two came loose on the roof,
Which presently ceased to be waterproof,
If the drawers were pulled out from the bedroom chests,
And you couldn’t find one of your winter vests,
Or after supper one of the girls
Suddenly missed her Woolworth pearls.

Several of us, unbidden, unrehearsed, supplied the next two lines in a Greek chorus:

Then the family would say: “It’s that horrible cat!
It was Mungojerrie-or Rumpleteazer!”- And most of the time they left it at that.

That kid’s eyes, as they lifted off the book and onto us, were wide and awed. I suspect we made a lifelong convert to the world of books that day – because it was utter magic, how these people who didn’t know HER and apparently didn’t know ONE ANOTHER all knew how the next line went.

The grown-ups all smiled and nodded at each other across the space between the seats. Readers, all. THank you, Old Possum and all the Practical Cats.

And there’s more where that came from.

Jellicle cats are black and white
Jellicle cats are rather small…

Some time after that my own Jellicle left me. The cat I had left out of my matched pair of black-and-whites, was lost and bereft, her cries piteous in the night for a long time after.

It took me much longer. Even now, years later, there’s a hole in my life where Boboko used to live. I miss him, so badly – his goofiness, his playfulness, his loving nature, his imperious demands. Mungojerrie has gone to wreak his gentle Jellicle havoc someplace else while he waits for us all wherever it is that loved souls wait for those with whom they shared their earthly lives. And in time, maybe, I will learn to leave it at that.

Wired asked writers to create 6-word SF stories.

His penis snapped off; he’s pregnant!
Rudy Rucker

More from Wired HERE

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Creepiest things a child has told a parent

“Before I was born here, I had a sister, right? Her and my other mom are so old now. They were okay when the car was on fire, but I sure wasn’t!”

See 12 other creepy things children have said here

Google Maps Lets You Explore The TARDIS

tardis-google-jpgNow if I could only find David Tennant in there somewhere, off we’d go to the ends of space and time.

But you can’t click down the corridors and hallways, alas. Just the main room. Perhaps that is just as well. We don’t want people getting LOST inside the Tardis now, do we….?

Explore The TARDIS with Google

What’s wrong with chick lit?

None of my work has been labeled chick lit exactly, but there have been a few side remarks of a similar nature that make me appreciate Sherwood Smith’s essay.

“Among all the disparagements of romance there seems to be a special sneer for ‘chick lit’–the sprightly, often funny, light-hearted romantic story that is about relationships, rather than blood, guts, and the fate of nations, or heavy philosophical musings,” Smith writes.

“The reasons for this seem obvious –besides the cultural baggage that dictates anything by or about women is automatically lesser than stuff by men about men, there is a total absence of that stern ‘this is good for you’ vibe that freights so much of what is labelled ‘literature’.

“The chick lit I enjoy is not all that easy to write, though the successful story looks easy. Like P.G. Wodehouse, whose breezy, funny, warm-hearted stories were meticulously plotted, the style adamantine in its precision.”

Nothing wrong with chick lit

Seattle Metaphysical Library

The Seattle Metaphysical library is accessed via an unmarked glass door next to a bread bakery. The landlord will not allow a sign to be hung outside so you have to determine whether the library is open by looking for a sandwich board on the sidewalk.

But if you can manage to get inside you are in for a truly enlightening experience. The library has more than 13,000 books on parapsychology, shamanism, magik, and UFOs, just to name a few of their astounding sections.

An underground library specializing in underground knowledge

The 10 Most Impressive Beards In Literature

herman-melville-jpgMore impressive authors’ beards here


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