Saturday, February 7, 2009
Paper Towns by John Green
I shrugged my shoulders. I didn't know the answer, but of course I had my hopes: maybe Margo needed to see my confidence. Maybe this time she wanted to be found, and to be found by me. maybe just as she had chosen me on the longest night, she had chosen me again. And maybe untold riches awaited he who found her.
** I was so intrigued by the use of the poem "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman. This poem was an intricately woven thread throughout the book.
I must read this poem in full sometime before I die.
I couldn't figure out which of these ideas, if any, was at the core of this poem. But thinking about the grass and all the different ways you can see it made me think about all the ways I 'd seen and mis-seen Margo. There was no shortage of ways to see her. I'd been focused on what had become of her, but now with my head trying to understand the multiplicity of grass and her smell from the blanket still in my throat, I realized that the most important questions was who I was looking for. If "What is the Grass?" has such a complicated answer, I thought, so too, must "Who is Margo Ruth Spiegelman?" Like a metaphor rendered incomprehensible by its ubiquity, there was room enough in what she had left me for endless imaginings, for an infinite set of Margos.
"I think I will do nothing for a long time but listen," Whitman writes. And then for two pages, he's just hearing: hearing a steam whistle, hearing people's voices, hearing an opera. he sits on the grass and lets the sound pour through him. And this is what I was trying to do, too, I guess: to listen to all the little sounds of her, because before any of it could make sense, it had to be heard. For so long, I hadn't really heard Margo-I'd seen her screaming and thought her laughing-that now I figured it was my job. to try, even at this great remove, to hear the opera of her.
The fundamental mistake I had always made-and that she had, in fairness, always led to me-was this: Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl.
read January 25, 2009