Saturday, February 7, 2009

A nice little writer's moment.

I'm reading Alexander Chee's Edinburgh, courtesy of Moonie, who lent me her copy since I couldn't find it in Barnes. I stayed up late last night reading about 2/3 of it, and will be done before the day's end, with things to say about it and passages to quote. In the mean time, I thought this was a neat little writerly meta moment:

At the low edge of the sky, a bright smear. The slow burning, light pealing like struck bells at the speed of its passing. A bright tear in the night's dark belly.

Did you ever notice, I tell Alyssa, shortly before we leave the comet's company. How tear, as in to cry, and tear, as into rip or pull, how they're spelled the same? You could write them and someone reading would not know if you were crying or separating.

You'd know, she tells me. You would know.
--[pgs. 146-147, Edinburgh]



Interesting because after I read that, I went back to the first paragraph and re-examined the sentence, and realized I couldn't tell which tear he meant. It struck me. What a neat little moment, where Chee steps in and makes you notice his writing for a second, makes you think twice about what you thought you knew about what he was describing, and how the imagery is so different for both, and yet a little bit of both.

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