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Sunday, February 19, 2006


It's not as if I think I rival Oprah with my "recommend it and they will read it" powers. This post serves the purpose of releasing personal feelings (the kind that make you want to tap your finger or shake your leg). Otherwise known as a RANT.
I haven't read something this good in a long time. I was floored.

They are watching the TV. They are always watching the TV. It is an inviolable right that neither mom nor dad question.
Question? I would usually sit there and wallow with them, but not today. I have a fire burning in my soul that will not let me sit.
“Kids, turn that off.”
I don’t mean it but I feel obliged to toss something over my shoulder on my way to the kitchen. The evolved way of saying, I’m home. Welcome to the new millenium. There is no answer from the kids, but I wasn’t expecting one. Gone are the days of sitting around the dinner table exchanging pleasantries and, how was your day. I do miss those days but life must go on, and who does that nowadays anyway? The dinner table went out of date with the log cabin.
Nothing in the refrigerator looks appealing. Cold wing, cold pizza, cold everything. That will be the second night in a row that I don’t eat. I am sure not eating is good for you anyway, and the fire inside won’t let me eat. I feel like dropping and doing twenty pushups, or running up and down the stairs a hundred times. Carol would think I am crazy.
Maybe that is what the fire inside is. A touch of mental imbalance creeping up your shoulders like frost on a cold day.
No. What really gives me the shivers is the global tendency that I am picking up on, to consider any fire at all insanity. This burgeoning paranoia for the abnormal that drains the life out of life. The comparison-that is what is really insanity. I am comparing fire to frost, look at me. At best a bad metaphor and at worst a paranoiac complex. There’s the big insanity again.
That, my friends, is a portion of The Taming, by Joe Johnston. It is the story of a man who is so unlike the average man in wealth and intelligence, but cannot escape the thoughts of the average human--cannot escape the fear of mediocrity...the fear of time...the fear of death. It inspires the thoughts that men were made to think.
I secured a printed copy and smuggled it in to nap with me. I read it straight through.
(In other news: It staggers a bit through the beginning portion but finds its legs. The second half is some of the best stuff I've ever seen written.)

The imagery:

I see the sun. It is smiling cheerily at me, its arms stretched towards the earth to gather up the floodwater. The ground dries and is quickly parched. My walls are searing black from the heat as the sun grabs my brain in a pudgy fist and scalds it in its stifling grasp and its surface begins to blister. The sun smiles and says, “It is your fault.”
I love the violin. I love the way it expresses itself, it climbs its way out of your speakers and burrows and claws its way into your heart. You could say it speaks to me. I feel it connects me to its source, the frantic, fervid vehemence of the authour. I can feel his hands around his enemy’s neck as I am strangling my steering wheel. A thousand insects gnaw into my ears as the fiend pleads for his life futilely. I can hear in my brain the pitiful snap of the spinal cord, and it echoes salaciously, yet emptily, in my head as he moves on to his next victim.

The brevity:

You think of the silliest things in a crisis situation. And then you think of thinking of them, and it complicates things.

The truth:

My life used to be boring. It’s funny how we as humans only find amusement and challenges when reality perverts itself, when we have to try to find it within ourselves to ‘rise above’ our circumstances. It’s not within there, I know it. The ability to transcend my circumstances is not within myself. I don’t know what I am going to do. Right now I am only existing. Everything else has been taken and I am existing on instincts. Facing immediate challenges, and closing my eyes to the future.

Just little pieces.
The ending was amazing.
I haven't read anything this spectacular in years. I took a break with the CGO handbook--but still, years. It's the kind of Wow that makes you want to take off and run and run.

Just for the record, I am not doing publicity for the author, and I don't know him personally. I would do the same for Lord of the Rings or Memoirs of Geisha, only, this impressed me more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see you're 'flying the flag high' for Home-Schooled illiterates everywhere! Good on you. Never let minor annoyances - such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, lack of stylistic prose - get you down.

2/20/2006 12:24 PM  
Blogger Alyx said...

I hate this book. I hate it I hate it I hate it. It is the worst book I have ever written and is one of the most stupid. I do not know why I read the whole thing.

2/20/2006 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahaha! Good one anonymous.

2/21/2006 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Punctuation-Monkey said...

Hmm...illiterate doesn't even come close to what we're dealing with here. And from what I hear - the little birdie told me - one of the authors of this site is involved, somehow, in Family education; the Ostrich-effect at it's finest!

2/22/2006 7:36 PM  
Anonymous nin said...

Why is this book being so vehemently attacked? Hmm, maybe I should read it & find out.

2/22/2006 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should.
I loved it!
I'd elaborate, but some other time.
Nice rant Flo.

2/23/2006 12:45 AM  
Anonymous ambie said...

Fine fine I'll read it..see what all the hype is about.

2/23/2006 3:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what assholes. If you're going to critique something try to do so positively. The author is probably just a kid with a hobby.

2/23/2006 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

er.. oops you might want to delete my expletive.

2/23/2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger Florence said...

I have a feeling the trolls are related to me. Maybe just one or two.
In any case, I am angry at you. There is a time to be unreasonable and nuts on my blog...but not when you're going to diss my upbringing. This has nothing to do with The Family: you could show some courtesy by not insulting my taste or my life. Thank you.
And if you're going to do it, please give me something intelligent to reply to. I hestitated to say anything because your stupid comments were so groundless and I didn't want to be bludgeoning the dead horse.

2/23/2006 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Nina said...

You were right, Flo (u too, Ceph). It was already late, so I thot I'd just read a few chapters & get to bed, but after those, I cldn't stop.

I'm the kind of person who has a hard time concentrating on books - even novels - so that I hv to flip around until I find the action or something interesting. --And then it has to be able to keep my attention from there for a good while b4 I'll consider reading it thru' from the beginning.

But this one was riveting. Good thing it was only 7 chapters long, or I don't know until what ungodly hr of the night I might've kept on reading! Stunning ending, too.

I'm glad I started from the beginning on this one, b/c I wldn't hv been able to stop myself reading thru' to the end if I'd started in the middle, & that wld've spoiled it for me.

2/23/2006 11:43 AM  
Blogger Florence said...

I'm so glad you liked it, Nina!
Amazing, desho?

2/23/2006 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Nina said...

Mattaku! It was definitely inspired, & I wldn't minimise the impact it cld hv on any of my fellow missionaries who read it.

2/23/2006 3:25 PM  
Anonymous win said...

wow, i had no intention of reading this until i read those wonderful anonymous comments....now i think i have to.

2/23/2006 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right, Flo (is that an acronym for Fat, Lazy and Oh so stupid?). There was no need for your not-so-brief-I-am-not-going-to-reply reply; though, it did prove my point, your junior-cultie friends helped as well. Nina's thoughts (or the lack thereof) were exceptionally funny, especially when taken in context with my original posting.

2/23/2006 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Cephas said...

Quit the dissing, stranger.
It's low, pathetic, and pointless.
Try finding a constructive steam-reliever.

2/24/2006 2:52 AM  
Blogger Alyx said...

Oh for God's sake anonymous, you're such a dork. Get a life.

2/24/2006 5:13 AM  
Anonymous Mash said...


How's the weather, btw?

2/24/2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger lils said...

I see some anon found the internet recently, it happens to the best of us. The novelty of posting anonymously numbs the senses as he/she forgets to use regular manners humans should use in any open forum.

It's ok, it's called flaming and it happens all the time.

2/24/2006 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/25/2006 9:48 PM  
Blogger Florence said...

Wow! Double take, dude!
What's that around your neck? The new winter fashion? Some nice retro bling-bling?
Is it...can it be...a millstone?

2/25/2006 11:46 PM  
Blogger Elaina said...

I am the tyrannical despot ruler of this blog. I like deleting comments. I like power rushes.

2/25/2006 11:47 PM  
Anonymous Bear said...

Joe was 14 when he started work on this. Most kids that age in this country don't even know where Thailand is.

2/27/2006 2:13 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Wait. Joe was 14 when he started his other book, En Avant. This one he wrote I think, when he was 20 or 19.

2/27/2006 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/02/2006 6:10 PM  
Blogger Florence said...

I'm so fed up with you.

3/02/2006 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/02/2006 10:34 PM  

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