When I read novels, the words disappear and I see a movie behind my eyes. Sometimes, I feel the movie, and sometimes I’m *in* the movie. When I should feel suspense, I feel sick with fear, and when the characters feel pain or terror, I feel it too, and sometimes I have trouble getting out of their emotions.
It follows that the years I read everything about Joan of Arc, I served as a shining example of emotional instability. In the context of what I was reading and learning, the emotions made sense. Applied to my own life, they made everything go haywire. It was in the middle of one of these episodes that a friend said, “There’s a context for everything she says. We just don’t know what it is.” About ten years later, I realized I have these internal shadow boxes, and the play is playing, and my blurting out a line here and there only serves to confuse things.
Thus, you can imagine the ebb and flow of surrender to the book and return to more-real real life after another book about the witch burnings of the Middle Ages. I was a wreck yesterday morning, and I still feel so drowned in the pathological jealousy, rage, intense grief and terror of just one case, I can’t consider the whole horror of it.
Perhaps a little light reading of Edmund Wilson before I go back to the Gnostic Gospels.