Monday, June 4, 2012

"...the sum of such hours..."

I'm not much of a standard book-reviewer (to do it well takes a talent I'm not sure I have), but I do like to share things that sort of "hit" me from books that I am reading.

Right now, I'm finishing an outstanding (Hugo Award-winning) sci-fi novel, by Dan Simmons, called Hyperion. The novel is the work of a master craftsman -- a guy who can walk through "voices" the way we walk from room to room; who can go from the third person narrative about a professor of philosophy and into a "hard-boiled-detective-fiction" voice and make it not silly. The book is also a veritable roller coaster ride for English major-types. I won't give things away; but, if you like both sci-fi and "serious" literature from the Chaucer through the British Romantic period (hence, the title) as much as I do, you must read this book.

Anyway, this passage from Hyperion really struck me the other day. Once again, here's an example of succinct writing that does more in a short passage than I have done in about four-thousand short essays on the subject... Here the perspective of a mother who is losing her daughter to a backward-aging disease. It applies more powerfully under those circumstances, of course, but it fits in perfectly with my take on life when it comes to "special occasions" versus the everyday:

Sarai had treasured every day of Rachel's childhood, enjoying the day-to-day normalcy of things; a normalcy which she quietly accepted as the best of life. She had always felt that the essence of human experience lay not primarily in the peak experiences, the wedding days and triumphs which stood out in the memory like dates circled in red on old calendars, but, rather, in the unself-conscious flow of little things -- the weekend afternoon with each member of the family engaged in his or her own pursuit, their crossings and connections casual, dialogues imminently forgettable, but the sum of such hours creating a synergy which was important and eternal.

Heck, yeah.

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