Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Notes from YofMT (3)


"I tell you that I shall not live two days," Gawain 153p
This is a recurring sentence that suggest one can tell when the end is near. A sign that may indicate their last days. A feeling of foreboding that haunts the breathing. Didion uses this quote as her way of explaining signs she may have missed, but see clearly now in John's absence.

The clear divide between life and death. 149p
One is walking on the earth one day then gone into the darkness the next by sudden unexpected death. Didion refusal to believe this went against her Episcopalian upbringing. She sees now that she never actually believed the Apostles' Creed about the "resurrection of the body".

"As he saw it, he now had a death sentence, temporarily suspended." 157p
After John's 1987 angioplasty he felt he knew how he would die. I agreed with John, as she wrote of his first bout with heart problems. My grandfather had a triple bypass done in 1973 (1 of the 1st at Vanderbilt) and we all thought it was a temporary lease on life. We just knew his death would be the result of a heart attack. He died in 1991 and was afforded eighteen more years of quality living. His heart attack was sudden and brought on by a cold that had gotten into his chest.

Panic attack as an old Hitchcock movie. 177-8p
This is a great scene and it has to be included in the play version of YofMT. It is serious while it is happening, but comical in the retelling. This could be her chance to lighten up the play and my chance to lighten the review. It is just hard to see this book working as a play without some reason to laugh. We recently saw Doubt in New York and it had a nice balance of serious (70%) and fun (30%). The subject matter was so "tough" that you needed the good natured laugh for relief.

Didion has the annoying personality quirk of always wanting to be right. 174p
She admits to it and tries her best to control it. We all know people like that and probably do it ourselves. We easily forgive Didion for she tries to suppress it.

Didion's passage through grief has a breakthrough. 183p
She has spent the last 8 months constantly trying to rewrite her history with John and Quintana. On Aug. 30, 2004 she has her first memory where she tries reconstructing her history instead of rewriting it. Why do we focus back to change an outcome that has already passed? Easy to say "water under the bridge" but an entirely different concept in practice.

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