Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I loaned my vhs copy of the movie, Housekeeping, to our friends, John and Donna. They watched it last night and when Donna emailed me this morning I sensed that Housekeeping had left its mysterious, odd impression upon her. It's a movie unlike any other and haunts you for days.

So I'll run this post again for the sake of sharing beauty when just the right words are strung together. Always, that is a treat, no matter where you find them.


I think I am waxing poetic lately because I am rereading the book, Housekeeping, the first novel by Marilynne Robinson. Please tell me you've read it. To me, Marilynne is Queen of Beautiful Similies and Metaphors. The same-named movie is in my top five favorites of all time and it places dreams in my head long days afterward.

If you were to delve into the book, Housekeeping, here are just a handful of the golden jewels you'd pull upward. And I'm sharing them because, as we all know, nothing in this life is appreciated fully until it is shared with a friend...

"Her children slept on starched sheets under layers of quilts, and in the morning her curtains filled with light the way sails fill with wind."

"They had no reason to look forward, nothing to regret. Their lives spun off the tilting world like thread off a spindle, breakfast time, suppertime, lilac time, apple time."

"And she would feel that sharp loneliness she had felt every long evening since she was a child. It was the kind of loneliness that made clocks seem slow and loud and made voices sound like voices across water."

"She felt the hair lifted from her neck by a soft wind and she saw the trees fill with wind and heard their trunks creak like masts."

"For five years my grandmother cared for us very well. She cared for us like someone reliving a long day in a dream."

"Lucille and me she tended with scrupulous care and little confidence, as if her offerings of dimes and chocolate chip cookies might keep us, our spirits, here in her kitchen."

"I remember sitting under the ironing board, which pulled down from the kitchen wall, while she ironed the parlor curtains and muttered 'Robin Adair.'"

"We stayed awake the whole night because Lucille was afraid of her dreams."

"Sylvie always walked with her head down, to one side, with an abstracted and considering expression, as if someone were speaking to her in a soft voice."

"If someone had asked me about Lucille I would remember ...that she smelled dully clean, like chalk or like a sun-warmed cat."

"That evening Lily and Nona were taken by a friend of my grandmother's back to Spokane and we and the house were Sylvie's."

And after the town flooded:

"Downstairs the flood bumped and fumbled like a blind man in a strange house, but outside it hissed and trickled, like the pressure of water against your eardrums, and like the sounds you hear in the moment before you faint."

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