Friday, November 14, 2008

cancion de la calandria

She used to wonder at her own inactivity. She could lie there hour after hour in the sun and listen to the strident whir of the big locusts, and to the light, ironical laughter of the quaking asps. All her life she had been hurrying and sputtering, as if she had been born behind time and had been trying to catch up. Now, she reflected, as she drew herself out long upon the rugs, it was as if she were waiting for something to catch up with her. She had got to a place where she was out of the stream of meaningless activity and undirected effort.


This is from Song of the Lark, when Thea goes to the cliff dwellings and renews her spirit and creative passion. It reminded me of when J and I were down in the Yucatan. I had this same feeling of timelessness. I reveled in doing nothing. I want to go back, please.


This early work of Willa Cather, her most autobiographical novel, was our book group pick for this month and we met to discuss it Tuesday. We talked about the characters, their choices and struggles. We talked a lot about the personal sacrifices artists make. Is it really necessary to give up family to be a great artist? There was a little discussion about how we can foster creativity in our own lives, referring to Elder Dieter Uchtdorf's conference address. We brought up Elder Tom Perry's address too about following the example of Thoreau and simplifying life. This time of year, right as the mad holiday rush is starting, I try to remember these things.
(Hey, you two book group ladies who moved to fancy-pants England: We miss you!!! Rachelle, I picked Song of the Lark partly for the pleasure of hearing you rant about it.)

8 comments:

ML said...

How ironic that in a little blog surfing I would read this post right now. I'm at home alone and just finished the final page of "My Name Is Asher Lev". I'm still feeling that "What did I just read?" feeling and your book group questions helped me organize my mind a little bit. Thanks!

Calandria said...

What did you think about Asher Lev? Did you like it? I was ambivalent. On the one hand, I couldn't put it down. I found the character and his struggles fascinating. It was an interesting look at how artistic expression and religious convictions can come into conflict. But I remember too that there were some things I didn't like. I believe I found the character overall unlikeable. And there were parts that made me uncomfortable.

Michelle said...

Is your internet name an homage to Willa Cather? I guess I didn't know what calandria meant.

Ballerina Girl said...

beautiful foto, nice song...
and so true about the holiday madness...
that is why I love Thanksgiving! Nothing but great food, family and friends getting together, and sharing laughing having fun!
BG

Gabriela said...

I loved Elder Uctdorf's talk. I need to go back and read that. I wish you were in my bookclub!

Calandria said...

Michelle, to be honest I don't remember exactly how I came up with this name. But it fit well with this post, didn't it? :)

Ballerina Girl, I am psyched about Thanksgiving, too. I am especially excited about my pies this year.

Gabriela, if I were in your book group, maybe we could turn it into one that actually TALKS about books. :)

ML said...

(RE: Asher Lev) I certainly found the book compelling--I couldn't put it down either. In fact, it's hard to remember the last time I had a book as quite as constant a companion as that one was. As far as Asher goes I thought the character was obsessively self-centered and I wondered if that is what is necessary to obtain that level of self-expression in any medium. I don't know. I liked the book.

yesweareonmars said...

What a great tree! It looks like a perfect climbing tree.
I like trees.

Real deep ain't I?