I've started on Anna Karenina now, and it's captivating. I can't believe it took me so long. I think the concept of "Russian Literature" seemed daunting, but because it was mentioned in friendly terms in Elegance, it seemed more approachable. As ever, it's all in the attitude.
Now that our term essay is in my load's a little lighter - hence the time for fiction. We have one assessed essay per term (along with smaller, more informal assignments), so that makes it a big project - and a big relief. For now I'm trying to incorporate fun reading again, instead of reading solely for 'work.'
This probably seems obvious to the older among you, but I was reminded again this week that we only start to understand certain expressions as we've lived. I've noticed this within and without literature - there are sentiments that you suddenly can relate to in a work and in real life. When I got some sad news I felt all the platitudes of grief. I heard myself uttering utterly insignificant phrases; there were certain banal sentiments that I had read and heard before but not fully understood. The universality of pain is only matched by the limitations of our expression of it. So you come to terms with it and life moves on, until the next lesson. "Experience, that most brutal of teachers," as C.S. Lewis put it. "But you learn, my God do you learn." As Elegance would have it, you learn to find the "always in never," to treasure life and its moments of beauty as something precious, slow.
So, let us drink a cup of tea. If not in person, at least by proxy. Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings. Let us once again - and always - begin.