Re-reading

It's something I do a fair amount of. Partly this is because as a teacher of literature there are some texts I go back to teaching moderately regularly. The good ones, the world class ones, never fail to give me something new each time I engage with them. At a certain point I also find that I've memorized the shorter pieces, and even some of the longer ones (King Lear), or at least large chunks of them. What I find is that memorizing gives me a new sense of the language, of its power, and as a result I feel a deeper ownership of what I'm reading. The words have carved themselves on my brain without me consciously sitting down to commit them to memory, and the strange alchemy of literature has begun. It has become part of me. To some extent we are the stories we tell ourselves about who we are - whether the story is of success or of failings. But we are also the stories and the emotions that we have drunk in before we know we've chosen them, when a book or poem has entered our souls, when the magic has happened before we know it.