i've been reading the collected letters of elizabeth barret browning, in the morning usually, over breakfast. the depth and power of her epistilary is ... astounding. These voluminous letters, sent daily, sometimes multiple corrispondances daily, to friends and family, recount their adventures abroad, meetings with people (such as a weekend spent in ... the staggering, speachless awe of a gushing fan-girl, with novelist George Sands), the progress of her husband's poetry, seeming word-for-word re-counting of trivial dinner conversations, and politics. A lot of politics. She spends much of what I've been reading lately defending Louis Napolen against the fears and suspicions of her countrymen. Napolen (Napolen III) ran a government of strict censorship and propaganda, but with gifts to the left, in the form of things like free parlimentary debate. The Brownings found the politics of France more complex than seemed to be understood by their friends in England -- they supported Napoleon as severely flawed, but the best option at the time. Her letters go on about this for pages at a time. In any event, her style is so ... encompassing and beautiful, i find myself shamed by not only my corrospondance, but my involvement. She is truely a remarkable woman.
Randomly excerpted from this morning's letter -- March of 1856 ...
"My dearest Mona Nina, -- I write to you in the midst of so much fatigue and unsatisfactory turmoil, that I feel I shall scarcely be articulate in what I say. Still, it must be tried, for I can't have you think that I have come to London to forget you, much less to be callous to the influence of this dear affectionate letter of yours. May god bless you! How sorry I am that you should have vexation on the top of more serious hurts to depress you. Indeed, if it were not for the other side of the tapestry, it would seem not at all worth while for ust to stand putting in more weary Gobellin stitches (till we turn into goblins) day after day, year after year, in this sad world. For my part, I am ready at melancholy with anybody. The air, metnally or physically considered, is very heavy for me here, and I long for the quiet of my Florence, where somehwoe it always has gone best with my life. As to England, it affects me so, in body, soul, and circumstances, that if I could not get away soon, I should be provoked, I thin, into turning monster and hating the wole island, which shocks you so to hear, that you would be provoked into not loving me, perhaps and that would really be too hard, after all."
Her beautiful analogy here that we toil on the tapestry of life, muddled by strings and difficult stiches, all to create that smooth other side I find amazing. That she could come up with such a thing each day, to keep all of these letters fresh, deep, and rich ... what am I doing with my life?
(back inside doing dishes -- momcat's perched on the arm of the comfy chair, under the reading light, warming her little catbutt. she's letting me sit about 15 feet away.) i took a picture. i want to pet her, scratch her little head, tell her that everything's okay.)
well -- now begins the day.