the dance of the ink riddled fingers

tuesdays with Morrie

Posted in book club by enisea on 21/04/2011

Last time I dropped Jac Jac off, we sat in her room for about half an hour carried away in the ramblings of arbitrary conversation.  Somewhere amidst small talk and random excitement she extracts this fabric bound hard cover, and offers it to me in sharing gesture (though I never inquired about it, only noticed a full shelf and rhetorically asked,  “you read?”) which she sings a raving review about as this is her favourite book and she reads it all the time, especially when sad. So I took it and kept it in my backseat for about a month, then decided on Sunday I should read it and return it to her quickly… because it’s her favourite book and I don’t like keeping people’s favourite things from them.

I read the first half of the book on Monday morning as I sat for an hour and a half on the grassy spread of the medium roundabout/traffic island a stone’s throw from the Queen Vic Market.  The book was simple, had predictable rhythm and was about as easy to swallow as warm oats and honey on foggy mornings. Did I mention it was simple?  I was surprised to have made it halfway in a short amount of time yet wondered if there might be any climatic surprises awaiting me.  I put the book down easily, marking halfway with Saturday’s cafe’s business card.  I didn’t feel any itching to pick it back up on Tuesday (haha, the irony).  I opened the book on Wednesday as I sat with another couple of newly acquainted friends at The League of Honest Coffee (really neat joint), but conversation bid me put the book away after 2 pages of interrupted thoughts to pay proper respect to Christine.  I saw Jac after that and told her I was only halfway, so she told me to keep it until it was read.  I finished it today (Thursday).

It is a very simple book.  It’s derived essentially from dialogue and conversation, assembled via narration of Mitch Albom (the pupil of a dying old man with a beautiful spirit).  The structure is simple, as is its message/s.  Set apart from eloquence and obvious in projecting meaning and purpose, it is curiously familiar.  Curiously familiar as if all the topics addressed in this last “thesis” were of no striking revelation and the readers could sigh “I’ve heard it all before”.  It is the multitude of the aphorisms compounded that makes the book reverberate of sober truths.  The pages become more captivating as the dialogue becomes more intermittent; Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) ravages the turn-taking talk and Albom narrates emotive visuals of observations in the place of flowing conversation.  I let escape a couple of tears on page 185.  I closed the book and sighed.  I wondered why this journalist didn’t use more eloquent linguistics in the warming memoir of an incredible heart in its last days.  I wished it was more descriptive and of more intimate depths… but I realised that would have destroyed the message.  Because of the bubbling boast that beauty ought to be extracted and recognised from the ‘ordinary’ and ‘average’, to have flowered the text with explosive description would have overcomplicated the message (hahaha, I am too familiar with this pretense).

It needed to be easy to read and easy to digest because its message was.  Drenched in appreciation, hope and optimism, yet gird by acknowledgement of sorrow, pain and deterioration, the book speaks of love. Love in all the contexts that matter, regarding: reconciliation with self and others, meaning, purpose and legacy.  Because ridiculously enough, it takes dying to appreciate living.  I could repackage the blurb but why should I when you can read it yourself, if indeed you are geniunely interested in its humble pages. A good read.  Simple and sobering.

Love each other or perish”

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One Response

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  1. jacjac said, on 21/04/2011 at 8:20 PM

    Yipee !!!


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