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10/28/2005

UNDERNEATH JACK AND JILL

Charlie Peacock plunges beneath the surface of "Jack and Jill" in his book NEW WAY TO BE HUMAN and sees things under the obvious that most of us wouldn't:

"What if 'Jack and Jill' is about

1. the partnership of male and female in the day-to-day needs of life?
2. the admission of human need (water), and how, in this world, meeting needs is often very difficult, dangerous work?
3. the topography of life where there are hills and valleys, and sometimes you climb a hill just to fall back down again?
4. the fact that human actions with the best of intentions for the purest of needs can still end in tragedy?
5. the ineptitude of men, and how they drag women down with them? (Just kidding, I think.)

What if 'Jack and Jill' is about all this (and more), and it is about two people traveling to get water and having an accident?"

ANd this has me thinking. What if the tales on the evening news - wars, robberies, dogs up for adoption, city council meetings - have a layer of meaning I'm not seeing as well? What if under the every day dramas and muted minutia tell us something about each other, life together, who we are and what we want and need and we're just not seeing it, not reading deeply enough, not squinting hard enough at what's underneath it all? What if?

And I'm wondering as I read Charlie's words again with you about how it is that some (like Charlie Peacock and English teachers in general) are able to see the layers of meaning in familiar words and experiences that many of the rest of us just don't even catch a hint of. How is it that Jack and Jill's fumbling antics on an imaginary hillside can communicate so many somethings other than the obvious to one person and be nothing but a child's rhyme to the masses? How do we, you and I, get under the skin of everyday conversations, songs, books, people and experiences to see the bones and muscles of meaning underneath? Is that even worth doing?

10 Comments:

Blogger ks said...

Maybe a lot of that layer comes from knowing the background, the history. I thikn knowing that is the first step to understanding more.
I really like that book, by the way, and its author.

10/29/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

What do you like about the book? So far, I'm not in. I'm only in Chapter three but so far it's not clicking with me. I understand what he's saying, I'm just not a fan of how he says it. Am I missing something???

SG

10/29/2005  
Anonymous Randy Webb said...

I love the book, understood what he said and was a fan of how he said it... though you get the whole scope of the book in the first few chapters [as with many books]

I am a supporter of his writing, and music.

Randy

10/29/2005  
Anonymous Randy Webb said...

p.s.... my mind is too numb to delve into my thoughts about the book.. or I would.

10/29/2005  
Blogger ks said...

It isn't as much in the way its delivered, or even what he says. I think what I liked about it (sort of like what I like about reading what you write, Shaun) is that it takes things from a different angle. I'm not used to that, but it's good for me becuase my faith is stimulated by intellect. But I'm probably biased too becuase I really admire Charlie Peacock.

10/29/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I admire him as well. Funny that as soon as I posted that I wasn't quite sure I liked his book I started to get into some stuff I liked in it. It's picking up for me now.

SG

10/30/2005  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

I'm not reading this book right now but I like the original questions of this post about working through the layers of meaning and finding a story behind or within a story.

Maybe these things can be found when we slow down here or there...stopping to consider those lilies of the field, or the weeds along the walk to the mailbox. Maybe just about anything can become a metaphor, a parable, if one of the starting questions of the day is "What are you teaching, Lord?"

There is a couple I love dearly who are to be married in less than a two weeks. And nothing would do but they had to have an elaborate first dance choreographed for them. They went all out and reserved a large space that they practice in once a week, they bought good dance shoes that they wrap neatly in tissue after each practice session, and they videotape their progress for me when I can't be there to watch so I can help them tweak their performance: watch the form of your arms here, lean your head back more there.

In the last tape I watched, they both knew the steps and the form looked pretty good. But something was wrong. He was counting the steps in his head as he danced "one two three, two two three..." and she was trying to do the steps based on where they were lyrically in the song.

What he was doing and what she was doing were not syncing up. Arm in arm, they were doing two dances, not one together. And it was the bride who caught this and said "I think I'm trying to lead."

That got us into a good discussion about the rhythm of a marriage relationship--of leading and following and being together in the things you do and live out as a couple. It was a metaphor my husband and I discovered on the dance floor 15 years ago as we prepared for our own elaborate wedding dance. We didn't apply it perfect in our own marriage, but were were mindful of it. And we sure tried.

The stories behind stories and lessons from little things lived out day to day are everywhere, and can be so much more apparent if we will linger a little along the way.


He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught

11/02/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Thanks, Nancy. I like being able to see things through your eyes once in a while. And I always love the way you paint with words. Good story.

Lingering.

SG

11/02/2005  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

thanks!

11/04/2005  
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2/08/2008  

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