Question

While I was watching my kids test today—may their grades rest in peace—I got distracted, thinking about how my kids are good at asking questions. And it’s sad sometimes to think that this is overlooked as a skill, a valuable one at that. Unless you’re asking questions, you’re not really learning, which is why I always push my kids so hard to ask when they’re confused. If they don’t ask, they’ll always be wondering what if…And until you try it, you’ll never know, which got me to thinking…

You’re not a student until you start asking questions. Until then, you’re only an observer.

Of course, now I’m stuck on the idea of wanting to slap that quote on a poster and hang it up in my classroom. And of course I want to put my name on it, because who wouldn’t be proud? It takes me so long to come up with anything, and I feel like lately it’s so rare, that I’m extremely proud of myself. I want everyone to see I can say smart stuff too, especially when the words seem to just congeal and spill out of my mouth in math. But I guess I can’t put my name on the poster…that would sound too conceited. So why can’t my excuse be because I’m a writer. And, isn’t that what writers do? Obsess over words?

Seeing is believing

Here it is one-thirty AM, where I should be in bed, but I can’t go to sleep just yet because I finished this book, and it’s been so long since I’ve read (and read one this good) that I have to talk about it. Even if it means sacrificing my sleep.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood.

I feel like while reading this book, I should feel dirty. A guy in love with an eight-year old child; and then a thirteen-year old feeling in love with a 24-year old. It seems like something you would read in the arrest section of a newspaper, except this story is everything but that. This story is about the love between two people learning to care for each other, no matter their differences and their history, even considering all their eccentricities. And, the only reason I can believe for why it feels so real is because of the history Greenwood has built up between the characters.

While reading, you may become annoyed at the chapters. So direct and pointed, they quickly get at their purpose, which can make things seem choppy at first. But it also reveals much of the characters’ history, traveling an expanse of years, all the way from Wavy’s age of 8 to 21. And even though it changes character perspective a lot, instead of distracting from the story, This reinforces Wavy and Kellen’s love. Being too close to the characters could easily lend the belief that their love is blind, who may not realize what they’re doing is wrong. But, by focusing on outsiders’ perspectives, letting the reader see how many other people can see and believe in their love, I think it helps the reader that much more believe in their love as well.

I think it also helps to have so much of their history in the story. It may slow things down at first, but it quickly picks points out the depth of their love:

  • How Kellen enrolls Wavy in school, even when her parents neglect
  • How Wavy helps Kellen when he falls off his bike on the road
  • How Kellen has patience for Wavy’s pecularities with food, touching, and talking
  • How Kellen defends her from her father’s abuse
  • How Wavy will cook for Kellen, help him with bills at work, win him money at poker since she is so much better at numbers than him

That and it picks out all the quiet moments of love. Love doesn’t always have to be sex, touch, and tension. Sometimes it’s just the moment of lying quietly together in silence. Just having the presence of each other is enough to make you feel at home.

Greenwood, Bryn. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. Thomas Dunne Books, 2016. Print.