the dance of the ink riddled fingers


Posted in book club by enisea on 26/02/2011

One of a series of seven lecture-turn-essay-presentations is the book that is this month’s review.  I must confess my attentiveness to this book was quickly worn by glazed eyes, the desire to fulfil productivity today (be it a monthly resolution and poorly done at that), and frustration of a lacking lucidity.

Tickle does well in lassoing her reader in her prologue titled “Being a bit of Context”.  May I warn you though that that her introductions into perceptions and character of Greed mislead the expectation of the essay.  The curiously captivating first fifteen pages of establishing intention is like dipping each of your fingers into a tasty sample of all manner of religions.  However it’s followed through with a ‘lighter’ assessment from page 17 to 46 drawing out the shapeshifting of Greed’s image as evolved/devolved mostly in visual art. This was not what I expected.

Lengthy sentences (and I mean sentences resembling small paragraphs) populated with impressive vocabulary were delightful for the first easier pages but became tiresome to commonfolk like myself.  I ‘read’ the essay, with about 25% of it falling through a nonmeaning filter of ignorance.  Only the momentum to finish reading carried my eyes over the text with the agnostic ‘hope’ that the next sentence may shed light on the previous.

The hardest part, for me, was the fact that the million references to art pieces and artists, historic events, important people, philosophers, and movies, was that I had minimal familiarity with any of them (being an unimformed Gen Y-er), meaning that that which she bounced most of her content off, were to me, walls of non-existent knowledge.  So technically, my difficulty with the book is not with the pages, it is my frustration with my history teachers who never educated me on anybody but Australian Explorers – of whom I could hardly give you sufficient regurgitation to write a children’s book.

Oh, but there were a handful of fantastical pages which I indulged in excitedly!  Moments of imagery – not the descriptions she painted of paintings, but (what I assume is) her own illustration of Greed – were beautiful.  I liked the first half of the book better than the second. She ends with the epilogue she titles “Being another Prologue”, which I actually have no comment for.

A few black and white picture pages in the middle of the “Notes” section proceding the epilogue assist with the understanding of her references to particular art pieces. I recommend familiarising yourself with the pictures before reading – or, if you’re not lazy like myself, google each as they are mentioned.  I didn’t read the 30pages of Notes (which might have significantly added to my understanding), I didn’t have the heart to try, so I didn’t.  I’ll revisit this book when I’m more mature, knowledgeable and patient.  As is, I read the book just to get my mind off stupid matters and to tick off February’s book reading resolution.  I have only two of the books of “The Seven Deadly Sins” series by The New York Public Library and Oxford University Press – the other, much more intriguing (due to it’s less frequent mention), Gluttony. But I will be much more weary come time to read that one, knowing now how depressingly superior these are in literary conventions!

I believe I can rightly conclude though, that after reading challenging books, I am then challenged to write more eloquently and hold higher standards for fluidity and variation in vocabulary!  I feel pretentiously wordy in this post but I’ll defend that it is simply the contagion of reading good pieces and (sub)consciously producing something that hopefully isn’t too far inferior from them; not to mention it being delightfully fun using words my mother would be impressed by.  This is why after not reading for 5 years, my writing plateaued, and possibly regressed. Hang on, unversity “compulsory” readings probably maintained my standard… but if I wish for my skills to evolve, I need to read much more and stretch my capacity of utilised brain percentage.  I think there is nothing more powerful than words and the letter, so motivation is easy.  I also think I should be more moved and interested in such vile ‘sins’ as Greed. 

I ate chocolate while reading this… but only two. The rest displayed are hoarded wrappers I knew might be useful for some artful expression!


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