Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving is English for Eucharist

Everyone is putting up their Thanksgiving posts. Mostly memories of past holidays, and mostly bad memories of past bad holidays. And a few pre-emptive bad memories, when someone predicts how awkward and awful his weekend will be, and how full of arguments and dramatic confrontations and unpleasant, understated, tight-lipped heart-to-hearts about the gay brother of the brother-in-law.

And I have to say, I can’t relate. I don’t have family issues. At all. We (my brothers and sisters and I) are so close we don’t even think about being close. We hang out all the time, we have dinner together on Sundays most weeks. We’re softball teammates, drinking buddies, and best friends.

I don’t know, maybe it sounds like bragging. Maybe it is bragging. But indulge me here. These people are the best.

I’m leaving in a couple of hours for Michigan, where we will hunt, lie around, drink and eat. I’m leaving work early to grab my brother and sister in the city (with my brother’s car), and we’re going to hit the road. And it’s going to be a blast.

I was reminded of good family by this post, and I think it’s because it mentions prayer, and recognizes prayer as an important part of coming together and staying together as a family. We pray in my family. We’re real, honest-to-goodness Catholics who go to Mass every Sunday, and believe that there are such things as mortal sins and hell.

And it’s not morbid, it’s glorious. I’ll say a prayer for all of you who don’t know where you are in your life, and maybe you can say a prayer for me. Happy thanksgiving.

Don’t even get me started on my extended family (again, no issues, pure bliss). This is an email exchange I just had with my cousin who delights me.

Her: hey, I just wrote my own defense of poesie. Take a look and see if you agree.

"What is the good of reading?" I cannot leave a question like that unanswered. It would be a betrayal of everything I believe in. So, I am sorry if you are over it and are not interested, but I have to respond with the answer that came to me while I was (guess what) reading.

Reading is beneficial in too many ways to enumerate, but I will give the top four.

1. Superficially. (I have to put this first so that hopefully you will forget about it by the time you get to the end.) People will look at a person who is reading a book, and will think "wow, this person is intelligent, sensitive, and cultured! Cool!" This is, of course, not a good reason to read, but it doesn't hurt the cause.

2. Practically. Reading will help with grammar, spelling and style. Since our use of language and communication is one of the things that separate the human from the animal, doesn't it make sense that we should speak and write this language correctly? And really, there is no better way to get in the habit of speaking properly than by reading.

3. Intellectually. Reading stimualtes the mind, and sharpens the imagination of the reader. It leaves the reader with a sense of interest and wonderment in the world around him. The habitual reader will question theories, explore ideas, and will think inventively and creatively. A reading mind is an active mind that will never go dull.

4. Truthfully/Philosophically. (This is the most important reason). Reading provides a completely unique creative escape, that cannot be experienced through any other activity such as watching tv. One might think that watching a movie, which creates a new world of imagination, would supply the watcher with as much creative scope and intellectual fuel as a book. This is incorrect. A movie spoon feeds the reader every single aspect of the created world. Nothing is left to the character's imagination. The watcher cannot imagine how the characters look, how they speak, how they interact with each other. Everything is decided for them by the moviemaker and forced upon them. When reading however, the writer and the reader combine forces to create a completely personal experience. The reader can provide the emotions and the subtle inflections which transform a plain volume of paper and ink into a different world. The reader is the partial creator of this world, since the writer is limited as to what he can portray through the written word. The writer provides the base, the walls and the roof. The reader enters this structure, and provides his own individual embellishment and decoration. In other words, (and I CANNOT help using this cliche. It's really screaming to be used.) The reader makes the house a home.

Me: Very nice. I am going to put it on the internet.
Isn't it fun being smart? Seriously, I can't imagine how boring it would be to be dumb.
ps - guess who is leaving for Michigan in an hour and a half. I'll give you a hint-- it's me.

Her: don't put it on the internet!!! People will plagiarize me!

Me: I'm totally putting it on the internet. I'm not even joking a little bit.


tiff said...

aww that's a nice post! Yay for you and close family. And praying - glad some people still think it's important. We don't celebrate the holiday, but are always together all the time too. Family above all else - like we're the mafia or something.

And you're cousin is totally right. Reading is fundamental to being a complete human being.

kwarterlifecrisis said...

Aw thanks for the shout-out. I don't have family issues either. Well, okay, after I typed that I remember that I do have a step-monster and she's all awkward and doesn't care if she knows me at all and oh sheesh. I guess I do have issues. But not with my mom's side! I'm very close to all of them. Anyway, I'm rambling, but yay for families and yay for Thanksgiving. Have a great one. :)

Charlotte Cook said...

What a nice posting for me to find today, Thanksgiving. I'm an avid reader, a habitual reader, of a wide range of books and articles. I'm also now a publisher because what I want in fiction is not on most best seller lists.

If you would, could you go to the website The website needs reader participation to survive and all that's required is to share your favorite fiction books, review others, and have some fun. And then tell others of the site. Because it's a free site and probably without "celebrity" notice, we struggle to keep it going. Yet, everyone who goes there and participates then goes on to celebrate the site. My publishing house underwrites this site, so, yes, I have a special interest in it ... to keep it going.

Charlotte Cook

Charlotte Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simply Curious said...

I actually have a pretty amazing family, too. This Thanksgiving was probably the best one I've had with my family in 10 years. It was a night of sitting around the table, arguing politics, laughing, and talking about the past. That's pretty much every holiday, and it's pretty cool. Happy belated Thanksgiving!