Throughout the years of my relatively short existence I've developed and/or taken up diverse hobbies and interests. Two that one could easily say have been life-long interests are reading and sports/exercise.
This weekend past I started reading a book titled "Mosses from an Old Manse" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I've forgotten where I might have gotten the clue to order this book but for sure one might determine that it was from some reading or suggestion from the myriad of Internet pages I peruse in a day. There is a nagging thought in the far back recesses of my tortured mind the idea that a quote somewhere enticed me to investigate the above mentioned book.
Within the first few pages I was transported back to my third grade classroom with Mrs. Grey and the reading of an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I may as well have been reading a foreign language, since, while I recognized perhaps 50% of the words, and knew that 100% of the words were English language words, I failed to catch the gist of what was being imparted on the page or within the essay. You may know that Emerson and Hawthorne occupied space in the same community and at the same time in America's New England. I'm led to believe then that this style of writing was in fact a reflection of how people conversed back in those "olden days."
At some point in my formative years I recall reading the Scarlett Letter, a novel of modest success written by Mr. Hawthorne and I do not remember the reading as a slogging exercise. Be that as it might, I found the first two short stories of "Mosses" to be laborious to read and had to reread most sentences more than once to discern the meaning therein.
As a life-long reader I don't shy away from reading material that may be difficult to make my way through; having read as diverse a collection from the meanderings of William Buckley to the "Peanuts" cartoons of Charles Shultz.
I find the challenge of reading this collection of Hawthorne's short stories as vigorous as doing a session of the exercise program recently introduced to the, ever searching for new stimulus, American public called P90X.
Think of a contemporary author such as Sidney Sheldon or Robert Ludlum.
The comparison is likened for me to the difference between P90x and Richard Simmons's "Sweatin to the Oldies."
That being said, reading Hawthorne is a study in expanding my usage of our language and so I will persevere.
Labels: Mosses from an old Manse.