Kicking it With the Letter “K”

July 3, 2014 at 3:13 pm (The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

brush-calligraphy-alphabet-kYou may have noticed a meme going around that goes something like this:

Say your favourite book, author, song, film, and object beginning with a particular letter. And that letter will be randomly assigned to you by me, via random.org. If you’d like to join in, comment in the comment section and I’ll tell you your letter! (And then, of course, the chain can keep going on your blog.)

From So Many Books I was issued the letter K.  After a day spent at the beach, I think I have made my final decisions.

Bookkung fu
Kung Fu : History, Philosophy, & Technique.

I grew up in a Kung Fu Studio.  I have a third degree black belt and can rank my own students.  For my very first black belt test I had to write  a thesis meets book report on David Chow’s book and its content.  I have never thought the assignment frivolous or regretted the requirement.  It’s a great book.  It’s an important book.  I make my own students read it as well.  In fact, I think my copy is on loan to a student right now.  Even if you aren’t a Kung Fu student, even if you’re knee deep into another style, even if you’ve never pursued any martial art in your life – this book is a valuable piece of history and helps explain a lot of those FAQs that arise when someone finds out you do Kung Fu.  It’s rich as well as concise and informative.  And leaps and bounds a better read than Kite Runner or Krakatoa – which are both excellent books.

Author

On this I have been so torn.  Kingsolver or Kafka?  Kafka? Kingsolver?  I couldn’t decide.  Metamorphosis is one of my favorite books of all time.  I have read it repeatedly.  It made the list of books that have changed my life.  But I have to say, Barbara Kingsolver has won my heart.  The Poisonwood Bible was beautiful and epic.  The Lacuna a fascinating concept.  I have almost all her books waiting on my shelf to be read and I find myself picking her up sparingly, not wanting to waste the moment of reading something of hers for the first time, saving her like I did my virginity.

kiss meSong

I could go old school with Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly,” but although I love belting that song with my Alto-ness, I choose “Sixpence None the Richer’s Kiss Me.”  It’s not even because it’s about sweet kissing, which I love.  It’s all that bearded barley and green, green grass.  It’s frolicking and tree houses and treasure maps.  And the 90’s.  Written and performed by a group who references C.S. Lewis in their band name.

Film

I’m a sucker for all things King Arthur.  From the old Sam Neil movie “Merlin,” to Jamie Campbell Bower’s show “Camelot.”  I picked up all of Rosalind Miles’ Guinevere series, just because they are King Arthur related and have John William Waterhouse paintings on the front cover.  The Lady of Shalott hangs in  my living room over the fireplace.  Naturally, then, I’m choosing “King Arthur” for my K film.  More specifically, the version featuring Clive Owen and Keira Knightly.  I thought it was brilliantly done, I love that Guinevere is a warrior and not just a lady in distress, and the fight scenes are awesome.  Of course, part of my preference for this version is that Horatio Hornblower (ahem, I mean, Ioan Gruffud) plays Lancelot.

kitesObject

Kaleidoscopes are cool.  But I’m going to be cliche on this one and go with Kite.  Mostly because I have a three year old who is fascinated by them, but partially because I can’t see one without singing, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from Mary Poppins.  Sometimes in public.  With feeling.  At the top of my lungs.  I try to tell myself it’s because every choir girl has an inner Dick Van Dyke, but I’m not sure the rest of the world agrees with me.

Leave me a comment to keep this fun blog prompt going.

 

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Lacuna

January 9, 2014 at 2:18 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

lacunaTitle: The Lacuna

Author: Barbara Kingsolver

lacuna

  • n.noun
    1. An empty space or a missing part; a gap.

    2. A cavity, space, or depression, (Biology) in a bone, containing cartilage or bone cells.

    3. :  a blank space or a missing part :  gap <the evident lacunae in his story — Shirley Hazzard>; also :  deficiency 1 <despite all these lacunae, those reforms were a vast improvement — New Republic>

    4. (Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) a gap or space, esp in a book or manuscript
    5. (Architecture) another name for coffer; an ornamental sunken panel in a ceiling or dome
    6. sheet that forms a distinct (usually flat and rectangular) section or component of something
    7. hiatus

Origin: L, a ditch, hole, pool from lacus: see lake

Barbara Kingsolver’s work embodies and embraces nearly all these definitions in some way or another.  It’s really quite brilliant, although not nearly as riveting as the concept itself.

lacuna 2Whereas The Poisonwood Bible was completely riveting, but I was far less intrigued by the concept.  Funny how that happens.  I love Kingsolver, I think she’s a genius.  She has managed two completely different reading experiences in one career and I only hope that I could accomplish that one day.  With Poisonwood Bible, I was captivated by the place, the drama, her ability to tell a story from five completely distinct voices.  I could not stop reading, could not wait to get back to the story.

The Lacuna put me to sleep.  Honestly.  But it’s not a terrible book.  To be fair, I was tired – really tired – this week.  When I read books like this, I often think of that quote at the end of Fight Club, “You met me at a very strange time in my life,” I want to tell the book.  A time when everything simultaneously puts me to sleep and keeps me awake at night.  On top of that, I was totally distracted by the concept.  I would start reading and instead of getting lost in the story I’d get lost in my thoughts about the story.  I’d soak in every nuance of the word lacuna and sit and pick apart every aspect of how that word is tied to MY story – MY life.

“What do you know about love?”

“Nothing, apparently.  That it winks on and off like an electric bulb.”

– pg. 184

lacuna 3Those lines hit me pretty hard.  There’s the honest truth of so much about the world right there.  At least for me, I see it so truthfully.  Love is like a light bulb to me – a choice – you click it on and click it off.  You decide to love someone in a moment, or not.   I’ve talked about this endlessly in other posts, I’m sure.  I think it fascinates me so completely because how I feel and think about love is so unaligned with how those around me feel and think about it.  While contemplating this word and this story and this quote I remember noting a conversation with someone I had a little over ten years ago.  He had not had a romantic feeling about a girl all day and considered this a triumph.  It baffled me, as I had not had a romantic feeling about a person in possibly a month or more.  When romantic feelings came to me they always overwhelmed me in their suddenness, the complete surprise of it throws me all the time, because I don’t have them often.  I’m not saying romantic thoughts – I love my husband, have loved him for 15 years –  but the *feelings* (not the butterflies or the goosebumps as related to physical feelings, but the emotional ones) I don’t have much.  Explaining this is difficult and often leaves me faced with strange looks.  I consider myself a passionate person who loves deeply and loyally, but have often been told how cold and void of compassion I can be.  I understand both descriptions of my personality because when I do feel, it is a strong sense of emptiness.  I feel a deep hole in my soul – like a lacuna.

Kingsolver has a way with moving you to re-evaluate your entire existence in one sentence over and over again in a book – in a way that writers strive to do just once in their lives.   If I write one excellent sentence that moves someone, I will have considered myself accomplished.  So here is another favorite from the beautifully quotable Kingsolver:

“This is what is means to be alone: everyone is connected to everyone else, their bodies are a bright liquid life flowing around you, sharing a single heart that drives them to move altogether.  If the shark comes they will all escape, and leave you to be eaten.” – pg. 185

I kept saying the word lacuna over and over in my head.  Lacuna, lacuna, lacuna… over and over I let it slip seductively off my mental tongue – while I read, while I did house work, while I slept.  I dreamed about it.  Not the story, not the setting, but the word.  I dreamed about the idea.

“[Y]ou can’t really know the person standing before you, because always there is some missing piece: the birthday like an invisible pinata hanging great and silent over his head, as he stands in his slippers boiling the water for coffee. The scarred, shrunken leg hidden under a green silk dress. A wife and son back in France.  Something you never knew.  That is the heart of the story.” – pg. 325

I’m a little bit in love with the word, and yes, with the feeling of the word.   Thank you Barbara Kingsolver for defining this word oh so eloquently in 507 pages.

 

 

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