E. L. Konigsburg

  • Dec. 25th, 2013 at 1:55 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: open book rose)
I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything...

E. L. Konigsburg

  • Apr. 22nd, 2013 at 6:45 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: black and white tree scene)
I think most of us are outsiders. And I think that's good because it makes you question things. I think it makes you see things outside yourself.

E. L. Konigsburg

  • Sep. 29th, 2010 at 12:42 AM
beth_shulman: (Default)
Ninety percent of who you are is invisible.
beth_shulman: (book: meg powers)
Read Mary Poppins, and you get a good glimpse of upper-middle-class family life in England a quarter of a century ago, a family that had basis in fact. Besides Mary there were Cook and Robertson Ay, and Ellen to lay the table. The outside of the Banks' house needed paint. Would such a household exist in a middle-class neighborhood in a Shaker Heights, Ohio, or a Paramus, New Jersey? Hardly. There would be no cook; Mother would be subscribing to Gourmet magazine. Robertson Ay's salary would easily buy the paint, and Mr. Banks would be cleaning the leaves out of his gutters on a Sunday afternoon. No one in the Scarsdales of this country allows the house to get run down. It is not in the order of things to purchase services instead of paint.

Read The Secret Garden, and you find another world that I know about only in words. Here is a family living on a large estate staffed by servants who are devoted to the two generations living there. Here is a father who has no visible source of income. He neither reaps nor sows; he doesn't even commute. He apparently never heard of permissiveness in raising children. He travels around Europe in search of himself, and no one resents his leaving his family to do it. Families of this kind had a basis in fact, but fact remote from me.
I have such faith in words that when I read about such families as a child, I thought that they were the norm and that the way I lived was subnormal, waiting for normal.
Where were the stories then about growing up in a small mill town where there was no one named Jones in your class? Where were the stories that made having a class full of Radasevitches and Gabellas and Zaharious normal? There were stories about the crowd meeting at the corner drugstore after school. Where were the stories that told about the store owner closing his place from 3:15 until 4:00 P.M. because he found that what he gained in sales of Coca-Cola he lost in stolen Hershey Bars? How come that druggist never seemed normal to me? He was supposed to be grumpy but lovable; the stories of my time all said so.
Where are the stories now about fathers who come home from work grouchy? Not mean. Not mad. Just nicely, mildly grouchy. Where are the words that tell about mothers who are just slightly hungover on the morning after New Year's Eve? Not drunkard mothers. Just headachey ones. Where are the stories that tell about the pushy ladies? Not real social climbers. Just moderately pushy. Where are all the parents who are experts on schools? They are all around me in the suburbs of New Jersey and New York, in Pennsylvania and Florida, too. Where are they in books? Some of them are in my books.
And I put them there for my kids. To excuse myself to my kids. Because I have this foolish faith in words. Because I want to show it happening. Because for some atavistic, artistic, inexplicable reason, I believe that the writing of it makes normal of it.

E. L. Konigsburg

  • Jun. 20th, 2010 at 12:02 PM
beth_shulman: (Default)
...Let the telling be like fudge-ripple ice cream. You keep licking the vanilla, but every now and then you come to something richer and deeper and with a stronger flavor.


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