Hello Again (and a few thoughts on Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout)

I haven’t been writing in my blog very much; well, not at all this November. But, I have been writing in the Onion Skin Journal. I began keeping a book journal this month because I miss the analogue ways I used for most of my life. I miss the tangible quality of paper which doesn’t have any glare or require any outlets.

The pages of this journal are so thin that I only write on one side of them. Otherwise, the ghosting would be so severe it would be hard to read either side with ease. The ink of my fountain pen makes the pages crinkle lusciously, and it is quite satisfying to flip through them as I reread the quotes I have written down to remember.

Such as the quotes from my latest book: Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout. She writes in such an intimate, and authoritative, way that I can’t help but wonder if it is somewhat autobiographical. It even feels biographical for me. How could she know me? She can’t, of course, and yet her thoughts seem so similar to some of my own, such as this:

Grief is such a – oh, it is such a solitary thing; this is the terror of it, I think. It is like sliding down the outside of a really long glass building while nobody sees you.

p. 3

and:

I have always thought that if there was a big corkboard and on that board was a pin for every person who ever lived, there would be no pin for me.

I feel invisible is what I mean.

p. 62

and:

People are lonely, is my point here. Many people can’t say to those they know well what it is they feel they might want to say.

p. 119

These are only a few examples, of course, from pages of lines I have written down. Her words are so piercing, so beautiful, as she tells about her life and her relationship with William. They once were married, but now they are friends. I love that they have found peace with one another.

Loneliness. Peace with one another. These are some of the themes I am contemplating in anticipation of Thanksgiving this week. I have invited a woman I know who is alone; I can’t bear people to be alone especially on such a holiday as this one, where one’s blessings are celebrated.

I don’t want anyone to slide down a glass building with no one noticing.

11 thoughts on “Hello Again (and a few thoughts on Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout)

    1. It has been awhile since I’ve read Anything Is Possible, but I do remember loving it. If it was better held in my mind I could compare it with Oh, William! As it is, I will visit the link you have left and see what it is you have to say. Xo

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh, it was so wonderful to see this post from you today, Meredith! You have been missed!

    I’m looking forward to reading Oh William! I still have Olive, Again on my TBR shelf, so Strout’s latest will have to wait a little bit longer. Those are wonderful passages that you have shared and I’m sure I’ll have several to quote when I finally get to the book.

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving, my friend. I hope all is well with you and yours. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lesley, your comment brings tears to my eyes. We have had such a long friendship, and it means so much to me that you still comment (and miss me)!
      Can you believe I have never read Olive Kitteridge, or Olive, Again?! I own the first, and I am so crazy about Elizabeth Strout it surprises me that those two are left unread by me. I’m looking forward to the passages you quote when you get to them…
      I have been smiling quietly to myself, thinking that you are transposing the thoughts in your written journal to your blog, and I am just now beginning the opposite. I have never kept a written record of what I have read beyond recording the titles in the back of my journals. This year, I will try something a little more tangible. I’ve always been inspired by what you have written when you read the book; how interesting it must be to see if your thoughts have grown or changed. ❤️

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  2. I loved Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible, and just live the way she so effortlessly draws characters in so few pages. Such a lovely choice of quotes, thank you.

    I understand the desire to write in a journal and what a beautiful, fragile example of one.

    Happy Thanksgiving. 🙏🏼🕯️

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  3. M, I loved this post. Made me happy to hear from you and how you’ve been using your onionskin journal 🙂 I just started using my red covered onionskin journal for December. Like you, I only write on one side of the page. I am enjoying the crinkle sound of the paper. I used my TWSBI eco fountain pen today, but plan on using different ones throughout the month – I want to see different colors of ink on the pages. As far as the Strout goes, I have that one sitting on a pile of books that I have neglected to read. Truthfully, my reading has been rather nil – too much going on to concentrate on a good book. Although, I have made myself start the latest in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series – I just love those books. My favorite Strout book is My Name Is Lucy Barton – I just loved that one to bits. I’m looking forward to this one. The quotes you selected resonated deeply. I think that’s why I enjoy Japanese Literature so much – their depiction of loneliness is just so authentic and realistic, I can’t help but feel what they write. The same goes for those quotes you selected. Anyhow, I just wanted to say hello and that I hope you and your family are well. Here’s to a wonderful December! xx

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  4. Such a beautiful post! I read My Name is Lucy Barton and really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to read Oh William! I have not read the Olive books though. Need to still read those! And I do have Anything is Possible on my shelf to read. 🙂
    By the way, will you be doing the Japanese Literature Challenge again in January? I really enjoyed participating in the last one and am already thinking about what I might want to read this time around. Last time, I really wanted to read The Makioka Sisters but didn’t get around to it. I think you hosted a read-along of that if I’m remembering correctly? But I just didn’t get it fit in. I did enjoy several of the ones I read though. I loved The Book of Tea so much that I ended up recently buying a beautiful hardback edition of it which contains additional material in it. I am thinking of reading through it again in January. But I also think I want to prioritize The Makioka Sisters. Anyway, I’m rambling. Hope you have a lovely day!

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