Saturday, October 15, 2011


I sometimes enjoy riding backwards on the train, seeing the countryside recede in front of me as if I am traveling back past places I passed earlier on the outward bound trip. It reminds me often of the feeling I get when I take my students backwards through a book we just finished. It's as if, at the end, we step off the train of the book for a few days, but then hop back on for the backwards trip to enjoy the journey from a fresh perspective. As we bring ourselves back through the chapters, scenes or sentences we missed might suddenly seem especially significant, or characters who were quiet on the first reading might make their thoughts thoroughly heard on this backward trip through the book. As we retrace the trip, the book, perhaps, unfolds in a fresh manner, making a new experience for us. The book then becomes two books, or three books, depending on how many times we board its train and sit backwards as the story progresses back to its start.

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