Friday, July 9, 2010

Charlotte's Web

Laney and I just wrapped up Charlotte's Web. I cried so hard during the penultimate chapter that Laney had to take over reading for me. To her credit, Laney finds it more annoying than upsetting when I have these emotional breakdowns. It irritates me too. My dad was also prone to them. And also annoyed by them. Being a teary motherfucker is no fun for anyone, I tell you.

Anyway, I hadn't read Charlotte's Web since I was a kid. I suspect most people haven't. I suspect that most people who read it as adults are reading it with their kids. But this is a shame. It's a charming book for children. But, if you're reading it, and someone you've loved has died, it's powerful. It knocked me over reading it tonight. This isn't just being a teary motherfucker. It's just... well, listen:

"Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you."

"You have been my friend," replied Charlotte. "That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift my own life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."

Seriously: "we're born,we live a little, we die." What a beautiful, sad, true assessment of the whole damn thing. There's no god, no reward, no special purpose. Instead, the best we can do it try to life up our own life a little because mostly, it's something of a mess.

I love that. I really do.

And the end! Do you guys know the last line?

It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

Laney had to read that line to me too.