Gilead. There something biblical about the setting, even Genesis defined it as a mound of witness. And it is - a witness to the supposed-changing times, to the dilemmas, to the weights carried by its people, and to the divide of two generations.
Told in journalistic episodes in autobiographical form, the novel contained the quietness and subtlety ala-Remains of the Day. This is about Reverend Ames and his memories he was about to bequeath to his very young son. Mami Louize told us that these are Memories of Hope, these letters and life lessons he will give to his kid... as he counts his remaining days.
While I was reading Robinson's Gilead, I have my blackberry with me, and whenever I want to reflect on the quotable-quotes or to think aloud, I tweet it. Not really just to rant it out or to seek attention, but maybe to share the sentiments that I feel as I read along. I have a feeling that my live-tweeting sessions has the same vibe as the movie Stranger Than Fiction. Read the tweets bottom to up, I saved up all these tweets to share. :)
Remembering quotes from Gilead awakened some of my precious memories. Forgive me for tweeting two languages in a sentence. I cannot seem to find the first tweet since, I believe, they have been buried from all other tweeting brigades.
The tweet series started with a quote. This is how I spent my weekend, with every-day-iloveyou-habit of reading. And I decided to continue on from page 50. When Ames told his son about the peculiarity of his kid, he said the human-face-quote. It somehow awakened my precious memories with him. (Topmost tweet – for the sake of the English-speaking communities – “I remember him suddenly. Those eyes that wonder, those timid smiles, those irate brows. Yes, irate, because he’s always irritated whenever we quarrel. :P”)
When Ames talked about his longing, and during the years of loneliness and waiting, I quoted his sentiments about grief and loneliness. That one does not think of them as stand-alone qualities, they went hand-in-hand with peace and comfort. And I thought maybe if everyone can think of the same, they will feel at ease. And while I was reflecting I shared the sentiments with those who have the “tendencies”. I want to tell them that feeling grief and loneliness are perfectly normal. To feel alone is normal. But one should remember that there are positive things in life. (the parenthetical tweet shared my current emotional state: “Okay, I am about to cryyy!!!”)
As an active participant in the book discussion in our book club, I even placed some pages to remember.
Irate moments are plain irate moments: Maybe like the others, they feel the same way. I am not a devout Catholic, and I am not an American. So these irate moments in tweets are some notes to remember, too, for I need to research on some bits. Or maybe because I felt that these bits of information required a bit of research. The most bottom tweet mentioned my impatience to the part of Ames telling about the clash of father and his grandfather, and having the divide between a pacifist and an abolitionist, even inviting some men to join the Civil War –
Middle tweet: “Lots of confessions from John Ames. Is that even legit to do before dying?”
Top tweet: “Why is John Ames angry with his namesake…? Yes, he’s a prodigal son, but where else does he get that prejudice? #Gilead”
Funny, these irate tweets are spur-of-the-moment-thinking-aloud episodes and followers and friends replied to me; something like – Can you please be patient? Or I won’t read Gilead, I’ll just read your tweet along. HAHA
If you thought that Gilead is a serious read, it is. But it is not that melancholic, it contained a bit of humor too. Or maybe it is just me. When Ames said the quote (bottom tweet, with citation), he was reflecting on the sermon he was giving and Jack Broughton was in the church, grinning. I felt like Jack, grinning at some of the pastors. Who can’t help but smile feeling the stigma of their own sermon? Maybe I also thought of the challenges men in cloth face when they share their homily, and most of their words are not really for the audience but for themselves. So when I tweeted the middle tweet (translating to English – “-if a person is irritated, you’ll say this too. Humorous!:P”) I was laughing in a coffee shop. Top tweet mentioned “You did your homily well, John Ames, telling to yourself. I get the humor all right! If I am that kid (Jack Broughton), I’d have the wide smile too. Kudos! Hihi”
Faith tried and tested: The most bottom quote is heavy. It talked of forgiving and remembering. It talked of Ames’ humanity. He had a clash with Jack Broughton. He knows that it is right to forgive a person, but how can he forgive if he remembers the sins Jack did… and for me, as the book is about to get emotional, the epistolary episodes went back to civil wars, to different sects of religion. And I just told myself (Second tweet from the top): “Where is the matronic essence? Gilead is starting to have drama. Too much drama, I believe.” As I am about to doubt the book, the topmost tweet bombarded me with a new episode of faith.
And so here we are with the essence of loving and over-sharing. Some of the live-tweets have been deleted maybe because of respecting the discretion, it might awaken the bitterness in him that I have learned to let go.
A moment of pause to the last tweet: The Immersion phase sold me to love Gilead.
And as I close the book, there goes fangirling. Some Filipino phrases are reiterations of what I felt when the book ended. And being a tear-jerker of books, as usual. I cried. I cried while I tweeted. I cried while learning that this book is a new favorite.
I concluded the tweet-series with the award of five stars. And with my state of being as vulnerable as I was, I was walking while crying, and simply melancholic during my stay in my workstation. This is a definite goodread. Hail to Marilynne's work!