Deanna's Reviews > My Dyslexia

My Dyslexia by Philip Schultz
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's review
Jun 13, 12

Read in June, 2012

Short, disjointed, and occasionally poignant, with some truly beautiful sentiments tucked here and there. In lieu of a review, I'll just post some of my favorites:

"Judaism is a world constituted almost entirely of language...It's a world of passion for its own history of laws and faith and learning -- all recorded in a language invented out of this very passion. It's a language derived directly out of the heart of the mind and translated and coded in music indigenous only to itself -- the infinitely beautiful and mysterious music of a people who strove to understand their suffering in order to give it meaning." p82

"When I first started teaching college in the mid-seventies I noticed that nearly all of my poetry and fiction students were using the same autobiographical "I" (or "me") they used to write their diaries, journals, and letters. These narrators were stand-ins for themselves and allowed them little or no distance from their characters. Once they understood that writers like Salinger, Philip Roth, and Chekhov used invented narrators - with attitudes and dilemmas different from their own - there was a remarkable improvement in their work. Holden Caulfield, Huck Finn, and Hemingway's Jake Barnes gave their authors a remove in which they could "see" their characters as actors in their stories. It isn't as obvious in poems, but the same principal pertains. The poetic "I" isn't really the poet, it's a made-up persona or personality possessing a perspective, distance, and sympathy for its characters that often changes from poem to poem...
...When I discovered that my most persuasive narrators were the ones whose personal agendas and attitudes were most different from my own, I started "borrowing" narrators from my favorite writers." p93-94

"I staved off boredom as a child by telling my grandma stories as my mother listened from the dining room, where she counted coins from my father's vending machines...
...I can still see them in their peasant dresses surrounded by the drabness of the furniture and peeling wallpaper, and myself in their eyes, where to them I was more than what my performance in school described, more than what my teachers believed I was capable of, more than what I knew and didn't know about the real world. They knew who I was from my stories. And from the love they felt for me...
...We are the stories we tell, the things we make up and invent, we are more than the answers we give to questions, more even than our limitations -- we are the cantankerous, infinitely mysterious dreams we somehow find the courage to imagine and somehow to tell others." p114

I don't necessarily agree with any of these, but I like all of them.


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