Friday, August 22, 2008

Changes

I wrote to be more like you, started it because it was something I could copy you at and then realized - wow, this is actually something I might be good at! - and started to enjoy it myself but even then, it was always linked to you in some way...
you were always the first ear to listen to my voice re-reading the words off the page, the first critic with a verdict - It's good. It's sad. It's strong - always so kind about it, lifting the grade of the words a point or two above what I would have given myself, turning average into nice, nice into moving, moving into powerful. I would read you those words still fresh off the page, still scribbled in my illegible handwriting, read them to myself aloud for the first time in that recital, for the first time since writing them, stumbling over the scratches and the underlines, the changes in mid-sentence, the run-ons, the flows that didn't flow and needed fixing.
For years, you read your novels through me, through the dog-eared pages of the latest book under my pillow, and I would breathlessly explain the circumstances of the last 2 pages, the lead up to that perfect sentence I had highlighted, that perfect sentence I needed you to hear... When the book was just "ok" I might have two passages to share, when it was amazing every second page was dog-eared, every second page needing reading aloud and after twenty-or-so sessions it was just "You need to read this book!" - to which you might answer "you're reading it to me anyway".
I still underline and dog-ear. I read more now that you're away, actually, read in some of the time we might have spent talking, some of the time I might have spent on the floor of your living room, playing dress up with my Little Angela or giving pony-rides to my Little Angel. Maybe when you visit I will greet you with a barrel-full of books and say "here, read the underlined parts". Maybe you'll move back someday and we'll spend the next three years working our way through the pile slowly, between our day-to-day. Maybe you'll never read them, but it makes me feel better to mark them up for you just the same.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am always so shocked to hear you say that you wrote to be like me - because I have always felt that you were the one with more talent at it.

Anyway, I wanted to write to say simply, thank you. Little Angela & little Angel are asleep & I thought I'd check your blog before I went off to bed & how wonderful to find such a post. Just the thing to send me off to dreamland, calm & wound down.
Love,
Your sister

citizen of the world said...

That is such a beautiful letter to your sister. Wow.

noha said...

Sis, you're welcome... I just can't seem to stop writing about you sometimes. I guess I just really really miss you...
COTW, thanks for the compliment. My sister and I probably spent hours talking/writing/talking about writing together each week, and now I'm writing ABOUT her, so it's a change too.

VioletSky said...

I love the idea of sharing your love of books and writing with your sister. I had forgotten about the book sharing that goes on with my cousins that I get to become a small part of whenever I visit them. They are constantly mailing books to each other to share.

noha said...

VS, when I was in a literary arts program, around exam time in our other classes, in order not to give us extra homework, we would just have what our teachers called a "writing marathon" where "prompts" were put in a hat and then pulled out for the duration of the class and we would write to them for 10-15 minutes. I went home and shared this with my sisters and for years (over 10 now) we've been writing to writing marathons every few months and then sharing it with each other. This is our most "concentrated" form of our writing, but there are other times that we write and share. it's hard now to remember a time when we didn't do it... My eldest sister wrote me a poem for my wedding, I made up songs for my other two sisters for their weddings, it's just part of us. Hard to explain, but almost essential to our bond.