Monday, October 17, 2011

Neutral Interest

There is certain beauty, very subtle and at the same time profound, in these quotes. Or, I simply love them :) It is indeed a superb example of my previous post, Extraordinary in Ordinary, and shows how paying attention to small details and connecting with them deeply creates something extraordinary from the simplest events in life.
From ``A Gate at the Stairs,'' by Lorrie Moore.

Once Mary-Emma was changed and sprinkled piney and dry with some silky herbal rice starch, I carried her downstairs, stepping awkwardly over the plastic baby gates. I found myself saying ``Wheeeee!'' and ``Upsy-oopsy.'' Mary-Emma just looked at me with neutral interest. It was a look I'd forgotten and never saw anymore in grown people. But it was the best. It was fantastically engaged: scholarly, unjudging, and angelic.  ---p.134

In the warm-up house I rented us both some skates---Sarah had left a twenty on the counter for this---and then we stepped out onto the nicked and bumpily formed ice. I propped Mary-Emma up, bracing her with my legs, and scooted her around. It was all new to her and she laughed like it was a joke. Her skates were double-bladed, and when I let her go she could glide a little on her own but them made off with a choppy step just running artlessly across the lagoon until she would hit a yellowish carbuncle in the ice and fall forward, her swimsuit cushioning her landing. She would then lie there staring into the cracks of the ice; beneath it were wavy weeds and lily pads frozen cloudily in place as if in a botanical glass paperweight. ``Fish!'' she cried to me, and I went over and she was poking with her mitten at the ice, believing the flora to be fauna. ``Well, kinda,'' I said. She was happy, the sun was shining, and she got up again and took off in her choppy gait. She had great spirit for this sport---it seemed to come naturally to her---and then I remembered her birth mother, who had spent her Saturdays skating with the nuns, and I thought, Well, of course. ---p.138

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