Reading, Now and Then

Back when I was in high school, I copied Salinger’s Seymour Glass and wrote quotations on index cards and thumb-tacked the cards all around my desk. Some days, it feels like veritable centuries have passed since my high school days, and I’ve long since abandoned that practice. But every now and then, reading, I come across some of those lines I favored, and I’m often struck by how much I still admire whatever I was reading then.

What’s changed is me. What’s changed is that I no longer primarily understand with my head, but all the way down to the roots of my abscessed tooth, or twined around the scars of my caesarians, or in the pronounced veins on the backs of my hands.

Isn’t that one of the beauties of literature? Some places I’ve returned to from my childhood are far smaller and paler versions in my adult life than my memory held. But books? So many are infinitely better, this time around…..

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

– T.S. Eliot

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Lake Elmore, Vermont

 

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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