Sunday, February 7, 2016

You've got to read this I can't read anything

This is an excerpt from my novel about Sri Lanka, "The Longest Tweet." Does it ever happen to you that you can't read during your travels because the landscape, human and otherwise, is so absorbing? That's what happened to me in Sri Lanka. But obviously, everyone doesn't experience things the same way. 


You've got to read this I can't read anything. 

He looked at a book about Sri Lanka. His friend R said "You've absolutely got to read this book. It tells you everything." So while she slipped into the pool, afraid her driver might see her sixty-year-old legs and buttocks (really?), even though any driver knew he wasn't allowed anywhere near the pool (see how much R understood about where she was), he had a look at the recommended tome. So personal was the writing, so what they call "interactive," so smooth, so fair and so fairly analytical. He could tell why his friend insisted he read it. Its blandness, its travel-book-trope, its length, breadth, gravity, weight, and its professional, well-spoken, refined author were all positive points of recommendation. So far he hadn't been able to pick up a book or even so much as a magazine, all these months he'd been in Sri Lanka. Everything, even a conversation, seemed so much a distraction. The non-distracting convos were the ones between people here who were interacting with one another. Not with him or other visitors. They were rare, or should I say, when he appeared, even a sliver of him around a doorway or a wall, these conversations stopped so people could take care of him. All he wanted to do was listen to the cadences of speech, the patterns of sounds, the emphases and the pauses. These were barely allowed him. While the other conversations, the written materials, the musings and reflections in his own language he felt separate from and oppressed by. 

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