Sunday, November 23, 2008
Beth Kephart, House of Dance
There is more beauty in my life because I have read Beth Kephart's House of Dance.
It is one summer for Rosie, her mother, and her grandfather. One summer to reclaim memories and connections. One summer to explore the passion of music and ballroom dance. One summer to heal. And how often does healing begin with an understanding, as Rosie experiences at the start of House of Dance?
"...a mystery, and that was my thought of the hour: that maybe all of us are. That Grandad had been young before he'd been old. That Mom had been a daughter once, like me. That there were things on the verge of vanishing that I barely understood."
Kephart's Rosie lunges to catch the vanishing. "I had been put in charge of myself, and my grandfather was dying," she announces. Her choice is to reach out to him, comb through his possessions, and put those things "In Trust" that matter. Rosie enters his world and finds her own richly renewed.
Kephart's language is lyrical and her images sing. Her vivid descriptions of daily life make me pause and reread passages such as:
"At Pastrami's everything--big hanks of pink meat, sweating wedges of cheese, wide tumbles of tomatoes--was piled high, and down low, in front of the big backward-sloping cases, were the barrels of pickles that Mom once said had been floating on their backs forever."
I left the House of Dance with the reminder to connect while I have the opportunity. Kephart shows us that people do change, and that one can reach out and love even when one isn't receiving love. We matter to each other. The House of Dance greatly mattered to me.