Friday, April 13, 2007

Little promises.

At my new favorite starbucks in the city. Wrote three scenes that I just wanted to get out without really making it too good. Then couldn't get anything done because I'm thinking too much. So picked up where I left off in The Road and went through a few pages.

So far, I'm loving the book. Very different than what I've been reading differently. Different than the highly stylized, wacky voice of JSF, different than the very straightforward backwards-looking narrative of Anchee Min. This stuff is great. Simple, but captures the desolation of the world so well. The namelessness of the father and his son, the few sentences shared between them, the dreams, the little actions. It's all so good. Makes me a more careful reader than I normally am, because I don't get this sense of needing to move quickly to find out what happens next as if there's a big dramatic plot to follow, but I want to move on the road with them, experience what they do.

In my heightened state of melancholia, as well as the fact that I just wrote two incredibly sad scenes (one of which will never make it into my story, but I needed to write so that I knew what happened), both of dealing with promises or loss thereof or disillusionment, the following little scene totally captivated my heart:

In a pocket of his knapsack he'd found a last half packet of cocoa and he fixed it for the boy and then poured his own cup with hot water and sat blowing at the rim.

You promised not to do that, the boy said.


You know what, Papa.

He poured the hot water back into the pan and took the boy's cup and poured some of the cocoa into his own and then handed it back.

I have to watch you all the time, the boy said.

I know.

If you break little promises you'll break big ones. That's what you said.

I know. But I won't.


I found that moment so incredibly touching. A little boy and his father. Each loving each other. One wanting to sacrifice, one wanting to keep the other in check. How powerful is love, I think. I think about the premise of this story - and how, if the boy died, the man would no longer have any reason to try as hard as he is now. How, the only reason he is surviving is because of the boy. So in a way, the boy is saving him too. Without him, his father would not survive. Without the father, the boy would not survive. They need each other. They trust each other. Love each other. And keep each others promises. Little and small. Because the little ones are as important as the big ones. Love means keeping promises.

That is love.

Back to it. Just wanted to take a break and write down this passage that so inspired me.

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