• Amanda Jayne

Book babble 1

I love those moments in a book when a line or a paragraph hits me in a way that either makes me see something from a totally new perspective, or is so delicious I want to read it over and over until I feel as though I just ate the sun in one bite and it's now making its shiny way through my system sparkling on everything in its path like sun on water.


I decided to write about some of these, partly to share them but mostly so I can have the joy of revisiting those moments. here's the first one.....


The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery


There was a moment in this book that I still think about months after I finished it. It concerns motion and movement. Muriel Barbery uses a NZ rugby player she has called, Somu to describe it. I've written parts of it below.


"...I don't really know how to explain it but when we move we are in a way destructured by our movement towards something: we are both here and at the same time not here because we are already in the process of going elsewhere....to stop destructuring yourself you have to stop moving altogether. Either you move and you're no longer whole or you're whole and you can't move. But that player when I saw him go out onto the field, I could tell there was something different about him. The impression that he was moving, yes, but by staying in one place.


"...it became obvious in the Haka: he was moving and making the same gestures as the other players...but while the others' gestures went towards their adversaries and the entire watching stadium, this player's gestures stayed inside him, stayed focused upon him and that gave him an unbelievable presence and intensity.


"And so the Haka, which is a warrior chant, gained all it's strength from him. What makes the strength of a soldier isn't the energy he uses trying to intimidate his opponent by sending him a load of signals, it's the strength he is able to concentrate within himself, by staying centred.


"That Maori player was like a tree, a great indestructible oak with deep roots and a powerful radiance - everyone could feel it. And yet you also got the impression that the great oak could fly, that it would be as quick as the wind, despite, or perhaps because of it's deep roots.


"...none of them came close to the perfection of the great Maori player...... a player who was running without moving.


"I said to myself: There, I have managed to witness motionless movement in the world."


If you see me out and about walking slowly with a strained look on my face, you know I'm attempting to perfect motionless movement. I haven't got it down yet.