Tuesday, August 09, 2011


"Black Pond Forest, Adirondacks", oil, by Laurel Daniel
When a friend was saying the other day that she recently thought she was lost in a forest but soon realized that she would have reached a road by walking in any direction, it brought to mind the many times my students and I have made a similar discovery in the classroom. We have often felt lost together in a chapter of a novel or the lines of a poem, but it’s interesting how frequently we found our way to the center and back out again just by continuing to reread with attentiveness and share our thoughts with sincerity. Strangely, it never matters, really, whether we walk this way or that way in a work of literature, whether we go down this literary trail or that one, as long as we do it with a firm focus and an honest interest in the thoughts of others. Whichever approach we take, in the end we will find ourselves, presto, in the very soul of all the words on the page. Someone might say, well, your soul of The Tempest is not my soul, and of course that’s correct. There are a thousand souls at the heart of a great book. All we have to do is dare to keep reading, rereading, and sharing – and soon, like a sun in the mist, we’ll see one of the exceptional truths in the words. It makes being lost in literature hopelessly impossible.

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