Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Honolulu by Alan Brennert

It's a book I just finished reading.  It's amazing how many references to quilting there are when you really pay attention to what you're reading.  I see more and more in tv shows and movies and now I'm reading about them in books.  This reference surprised me because she mostly did seamstress work so a passage about patchwork took me by surprise.


It’s a story of a Korean girls life from a childhood in Korea and then how she moved to Hawaii in the early 1900’s.  She goes back to visit her family many years later and is talking to her mom about her seamstress work.  As a child her and her mother would have thimble time, an hour a day where she and her mom sewed together.   She was telling her mom about her life in Hawaii and her regrets about leaving some of her friends and family here and what would have happened to everyone is she had stayed.  Her mom said that her patchwork life was “fine and far richer and more colorful than anything you would have done here, and far from completed.”  Her mom then proceeds to pull out a piece of cloth, with a green border enclosing a checkerboard of a dozen little rectangles and squares, red, yellow, gold, green,  brown, blue, and black.  “You see these?” she pointed to a half dozen of the black rectangles scattered randomly across the checkerboard, “ I added these on the day my mother died many years ago because that was my mood that day.  There is no pattern to where I placed them as there is no sense to be made of death.  One’s eye may not go to them first, but next to them the blues look bluer, the red’s richer, the gold’s more brilliant.  Without them, the cloth is pretty but without character or contrast.”  “Yes” I said quietly, “I see.”  She placed a tender hand on mine.  “Look around us child, listen to the sounds of war coming from the east, you could have made a [insert Korean word here which I assume means life] here in [insert Korean town here] but you might have had more patches like these than you could count. “


I listened to this on my ipod through Audible.com so I didn’t get the words exactly as Mr. Brennert had written them, but I love how he used patchwork to describe life events.  I wanted to keep them somewhere where I wouldn't lose it because I love the meaning of the passage and I'm sure I'll be referring back to it in the future.  



http://www.alanbrennert.com/Pg_Honolulu.html


Off to Road to California tomorrow.  Will have pictures and stuff to share when I get back.
Thanks for looking.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I just purchased this book to read on my iPad. So far it's been good for me.