Friday, March 26, 2010

Surprised By Joy

Hey, guys, Serena and I both read something on the Iditarod reading list! Totally by accident! And I'm working late and need a diversion, so.

If you're feeling cynical, E.M. Forster isn't for you. But if you're feeling depressed about how cynical everybody else is, oh my god, Forster is going to change your tiny world. He is the kindest author I've ever read. He finds something to love in every one of his characters, something worthy in them, and he emphasizes that. They could be stupid or brutish or cruel or histrionic, Forster doesn't care. He cares that they're stoic, or that they aspire to be more than they are, or that their antics are heartfelt.

I'd been thinking for a while about people who make everyone around them feel special, and the idea that that kind of attitude is really fake. My conclusion is something like this: it's not fake, because it's not pretending people are special in ways that they aren't special. It's finding what's special about every person, and concentrating on that, concentrating on what they do best or what makes them worthwhile. I formulated this theory before starting Howards End, and it's pretty much all I've been able to think about while reading it.

Well, that and "Really, Eddie? ANOTHER description of the English countryside? Jesus."