Monday, September 27, 2010
I spent most of Sunday at the Word on the Street (WOTS).
This is an authentic books event that lives up to, and even surpasses all the hype that surrounds it.
Mid-morning is a good time to be there because towards afternoon, it turns into a mela (fair).
I attended Katherine Govier’s reading.
Few writers can read as well as they write. Katherine is a rare exception. She read a passage from her latest novel The Ghost Brush.
Here’s an excerpt from the passage she read:
“I watched a long time. He drew many characters with his body. He stopped and started as if moving to music. He strove to remain erect. He strove to stay above the waves. His body used every muscle to articulate itself. It came to me that he was drawing his path. Perhaps it was his message to me...
...I will remember this forever, I thought. I had no idea what forever would be. I did not know what my life would be, but standing there behind my father as he danced with the waves, I knew that I would always watch him tumble, would always think the ground underneath me tumbled just as the waves did. I would never trust that solid ground. I would face the tumult, scanning for the shadow man I loved. I was his child but he was mine too.
We grew up early in my time. We learned about sex and the women who sold themselves in the Yoshiwara.
We were with the men in the studio when they painted the erotic prints. All those pictures of couples grappling, of women forced down to the mat – as if we didn’t hear it at night too, in our houses.
We knew about the hardness of life. I took charge of the money when my father couldn’t or wouldn't. I heard my mother saying the words that would make him stop loving her. But that wasn’t the moment that turned me from a child to an adult. It was that day, in the waves. Me hollering after him like a mother.”
Exquisite and lyrical – not just the written prose, but also the way Katherine read it.
Images: Katherine Govier: http://www.govier.com/
The Great Wave off Kangawa: http://randomknowledge.wordpress.com/2008/05/22/the-great-wave-off-kanagawa/