Monday, October 7, 2013

the devil wants nothing more than to be "some fat, 250 pound merchant's wife" and to "go into a church and light a candle with a pure heart"

Today, I finally finished The Brothers Karamazov. This moment represents something, though I am not sure exactly what. I have been reading the book for years now. I bought it a couple years ago, a few years ago - I am not exactly sure how long ago. I started it and then put it down, wasn't in the proper mood for a heavy Russian book at the time. I picked it up and started again. I made a bigger dent in it but again I got distracted by other books, by magazines, by life. I would pick it up at various points, read a hundred or so pages over a week, and then, without consciously doing so, let the book fall by the wayside for months. It's not that I didn't like it - I am not sure what the problem was.

Regardless, I finally reached the end of it. I still had a couple pages left today when I got off the subway by my gym but I was determined to finish it in that moment, before anything else came about from preventing me from reaching the end of this novel. It was drizzling rain and I read those last few pages, a beautiful speech given by Alyosha, in the drizzling rain, the pages getting wetter and wetter.

"You must know that there is nothing higher, or stronger, or sounder, or more useful afterwards in life, than some good memory, especially a memory from childhood, from the parental home. You hear a lot said about education, yet some such beautiful, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man stores up many such memories to take into life, then he is saved for his whole life. And even if only one good memory remains with us in our hearts, that alone may serve some day for our salvation." (774)

This book has been with me through various relationships and attempts at them, all of them failed. I have read from it on numerous bus rides, train rides, subway rides, and I believe even plane rides. I was a little sad to conclude this era of my life today, of having this unfinished Russian novel over my head constantly.

I still have Middlemarch though, also unfinished, also read through stops and starts over years, to now look forward to - something I have resolved to finish by the end of this year. And then I still also have Within a Budding Grove, which has sat half read on my bookshelf for an even longer number of years, and then whenever the day comes that I finish that, I will have all the remaining volumes of In Search of Lost Time to work through, slowly, on and off. Who knows where I will be in my life when I finally get through all of those books?

School started again this evening. I watched a beautiful sunset over the Manhattan Bridge from one of the classrooms.

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