This week -- a week in which the walls erected between communities have had a light shone on them -- I’d like to branch out in my weekly celebration of words. Instead of considering the words themselves, their origins & how they do or don’t relate to one another, here’s a short post celebrating an author & her vision in assembling those words I’m always taking apart. The events in her story occur in East & West Berlin before the Berlin Wall came down, so one might think her book would be about communism, capitalism, public policy, & all. Instead, her book delves into the aches, dreams, nightmares, & wonders of being human. Her book knocked my socks off (or knocked off my socks for the grammarians out there).
Ada is a graffiti artist squatting in a neglected buiilding in West Berlin. At night, she sneaks out to the wall.
I work alone and in nobody’s hurry. I work from my one black book and from the things that I know about sky and vanishing, fear and wanting. I tilt the flashlight up on the bricked-in windowsill behind me and stand inside its shine, the cans of color at my feet and the rabbits on the opposite side of the wall looking for nibbles in the death zone. There’s nothing like heat in this light….Precision is the trick of the wrist. Curves jet from the shoulder. If you want a halo bigger than you’ve earned the right to be, you paint with your whole body.
Throughout the book, the author assembles her words in ways that floor me & inspire me. I hope you’ll consider finding a copy of Beth Kephart’s novel, Going Over (Chronicle Books, 2014).
My thanks go out to Ms. Kephart & her wonderful team at Chronicle Books. You can find her book in libraries & bookstores everywhere, & here.
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.