watching Ivy read

Saturday, 2 November 2013

I recently came across a description at the start of one of Carol Shields’ short stories. It made me pause, and remember why I love her writing. (A bit of context: in the story, the narrator and his wife, Ivy, are flying over the Rocky mountains. She is reading a paperback, and he is wondering wondering whether he should interrupt her, to show her the view out the window...)

In a purely selfish sense, watching Ivy read is as interesting as peering down at those snowy mountains. She turns the pages of a book in the same way she handles every object, with a peculiar respectful gentleness, as though the air around it were more tender than ordinary air. I’ve watched her lift a cup of tea with this same abstracted grace, cradling a thick mug in a way that transforms it into something precious and fragile. It’s a gift some people have.'
~ From ‘Fragility’ by Carol Shields, in Collected Stories (2004). 

Read some of her stories, if you haven't already. I am continually surprised by them. In the best sort of way.


(This picture was taken a few weeks ago in Inverness, in a quirky coffee-shop/bicycle workshop called Velocity. I was 'up north' visiting my friend, travelling about on trains, note-taking for story-research purposes - and I stopped in here a few times for coffee and space to write).

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